ASTRID WILLIAMSON Pulse HHHHH One Little Indian, £11.99
The Shetland-born singer-songwriter's colourful musical history with Goya Dress and varied collaborations since have always marked her as one to watch, but Pulse will be reflected on as the time her career truly came into focus. Fashioned with Leo Abrahams, an ambient specialist who works with Brian Eno, this becomes much more than music and voice.
Williamson strips it back to the lilting conversational beauty of Paperbacks – up there with Joni Mitchell's best moments. Syllables are effortlessly stretched to scan over scratchy samples on Pour and Cherry, like the musical equivalent of drifting in and out of consciousness. The latter boasts a bass that sounds as though it is rumbling away in a swampy puddle.
In all, this is a bold move by Astrid, who sounds much more comfortable in this context than as a stand-up singer-songwriter.
The titles – Dance, Underwater, Husk – say what they have to say and elegantly move on. In contrast, Miracle is a sublime power-pop hook constructed in the 1980s and evolved in the 21st century. Connected plays like a heavenly music box, with all its workings whirring and clicking away.
If you have yet to discover Astrid, now is the moment.
Download this: Underwater, Miracle