Sian Alice Group 59:59

There are those groups that seem to be composed of disparate characters who shouldn’t combine to make wonderful pop music yet do. Then there is the example of Sian Alice Group. The members’ pedigree stretches back through a decade or more of British jazz, pop and electronic music, most notably engineer/multi-instrumentalist Rupert Clervaux, who also works in Spring Heel Jack. Alongside him is fellow multi-tasker Ben Cross, and the two generate a moody pastiche of torch jazz, pocket anthems and new, new, new romanticism. Vocalist Sian Ahern adds flourishes with an indie siren song recalling the heyday of This Mortal Coil. All the parts to make a whole are there, and then some, but instructions to assemble two albums are included. The result of not choosing one or the other is a lovely and saturnine construction with unnecessary shiny bits. If the title, which is the album’s running time, was 37:37, this would be a much stronger effort. The strong elements, such as the chiming lope of "Motionless” and free-ranging jazz of closer "Complete Affection” (featuring Spring Heel guitars by John Coxon), make this a worthwhile listen. But a certain amount of skipping is recommended. (The Social Registry)