New Buffalo The Last Beautiful Day

Released last year on an Australian label but lovingly distributed here by suddenly dynamic label Arts & Crafts, The Last Beautiful Day shows the singular, absolutely enchanting vision of one Sally Seltmann. If the last name sounds familiar it’s because Sally is indeed married to one of the main men behind sampling legends the Avalanches, Darren Seltmann, who helped produce this album. Essentially a mix of lo-fi toybox electronics or simple piano accompanied by Sally’s lush, smoky voice, there are many moments here that will stoke the fires of those who live and die by Cat Power or Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. Look to "Come Back” for an intense, uncomfortably bare vocal performance, while oppositely, "Inside” provides the most complex and luscious of New Buffalo’s creations. Featuring wispy backing vocals from Beth Orton, Seltmann’s bare impeccable voice is interjected by string samples, smooth sax and splashes of dissonant guitar, all of which build upon another for an excellent, skewed orchestral piece. Oozing promise and talent out of every pore, The Last Beautiful Day sticks to its guns a little too closely, but if you aren’t the least bit moved or amazed by New Buffalo’s sumptuous creations, you shouldn’t be reading this magazine. (Arts & Crafts)