Reviews of ~An Inexact Science~
English - Dutch - French - Italian
Reviews in English:
Fiend Magazine - Australia 2006
by Michelle Smith
If the Appalachian dulcimer doesn't float your boat, then you're looking in the wrong area of this reviews section. Yet even for those whose tastes venture toward heavier, crunchy sounds, the majesty of this album should still be awe-inspiring. This Melbourne duo has attracted a significant fanbase in Europe and it is no wonder that the blend of electronic beats, guitar and flute with the medieval and Middle Eastern sounds of instruments such as the lute, hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery is well received there. Naomi Henderson's vocals are versatile (from the delicate lilt of 'Muscle Memory' to the restrained power of 'Stable') and function as yet another instrument in the complex, swirling layers of melody and hypnotic rhythms she performs with the multi-talented Nicholas Albanis (whose guitar work at times recalls a less dissonant My Bloody Valentine). Also a spectacle to behold in a live setting, if you're looking to broaden and diversify your music collection with a release that still has a dark edge (no prancing in pantaloons is to be enacted while listening to this album!) there is no better band to begin with than Dandelion Wine.
SideLine Magazine - Belgium 10.2006
The new album of this Australian duo is a new exploration into imaginary and fairy territories. The mystical elegance of this band combined with the heavenly voice of Naomi Henderson opens new horizons for the lovers of esoteric music. DW doesn't totally stagnate in one style, but like diversity by tasting other influences like triphop. I can this way understand the definition, as this band would be the offspring between Dead Can Dance and Massive Attack. Obviously their sound is rather minimal, they this way brings a neo-classical touch by the use of acoustic guitar, piano, flute, mandolin ao. The fans of the French Prikosnovénie label would for sure please this band! This album is for sure a must have for all lovers of heavenly voices and mystical ambiances!
ReGen Magazine - USA 13..02.2007
by Jakob Huneycutt
An Inexact Science is a brilliant and utterly beautiful conceptual work created by the very talented Australia duo.
It's always fun to find surprises and hidden messages inside a new CD case, so I was rather delighted to open up Dandelion Wine's An Inexact Science , pull out the album booklet from a unique little pouch, and discover the phrase, "so secrets don't come out..." hidden underneath. The cover itself is a somewhat indescribable assortment of black and gray objects that appear vaguely Middle Eastern and African in nature and contrast sharply with the totally white backdrop. It's a simple cover in a way, but hints at a deeper complexity.
Dandelion Wine describe themselves as an "ethereal post-dreampop band" and claim their music comes from a world where "the centuries bleed into one another to create a seamless whole." As I write this review and try to think of terms that would do justice to this band's music, I find that there could be no description more apt than that. Dandelion Wine originates out of Melbourne, Australia and consists of only two members, Naomi Henderson and Nicholas Albanis, both of whom play an array of various instruments on the album including the flute, dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, and the list goes on. Listening to the album, it does not take long to realize that both Henderson and Albanis are very talented musicians with eclectic tastes and abilities.
While the album art and packaging for An Inexact Science was enjoyable, the music itself is even more so. It does not take long to become enchanted by the album as the first track, "Stable" is one of the most amazingly powerful and beautiful songs I've ever heard and it only seems to get stronger upon repeated listening. Naomi Henderson's angelic vocals shine in the track, and indeed, throughout the entire CD.
Even if the rest of An Inexact Science never quite achieves the absolute splendor of the opening number (a difficult standard to live up to), the entire album nevertheless manages to keep the listener absorbed. The album's second track, "Found" shows off Dandelion Wine's textured sound while Henderson's chorus of "Am I insane? Am I not sane?" displays not only the pure elegance of her voice, but also her impeccable sense of timing and control. In fact, in a music scene where female vocalists with beautiful voices almost seem to be a dime a dozen, this is perhaps what sets her apart from others. Henderson's true brilliance is understanding how to best utilize her voice to achieve the most dazzling results.
Other highlights of the album include "Black Glitter," another song where the offbeat lyrical elements so perfectly display Henderson's musical intelligence. Then there's the two-part "Little Pieces," which begins with a wondrous minimalist ambience before leading into a second half laden with a variety of instruments including violins and cellos.
There's really not a whole lot on An Inexact Science to criticize. Even the album's weaker numbers are still quite enjoyable, if not quite as awe-inspiring as the band's best material. As far as comparisons go, it's difficult to say whom Dandelion Wine sounds most like, which is probably a compliment in and of itself. About as close as a comparison one could make is Black Tape for a Blue Girl in that they both have a very textured ethereal sound that successfully blends a variety of musical elements and inspirations. Overall, An Inexact Science is a brilliant and beautiful conceptual work and an excellent album that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys ambient music, experimental works, or something that is just a bit different.
Gothville - Netherlands 2006
This full-CD stays perfectly on this path of dreams: beautiful and clear (not evident) vocals on a sweeping sound of flute, piano, acoustic guitar and just a touch of simple electronic arrangements. Think somewhere between Dead Can Dance, Deine Lakaien and the earlier Hoover(phonic). Yes, even Garbage's 'Milk' poped up in my mind while I was listening to this masterpiece.
This record carries me along, makes me dream... The vocals float through my head like an echo in the void... Naomi Henderson has put a spell on me with her voice, while Nicholas Albanis keeps me tied up with the music.
At the end there are only 2 thoughts playing through my head: 'Don't let go' and 'push the repeat-button'!
Heathen Harvest - International 01.12.2006
Quite a while ago I was studying some boring stuff, and needed a break before my head was about to implode. So I decided to check my email. What do you know, I had mail! A mail from Malahki, asking if some bands would fit my taste, so I could review them. One of these was Dandelion Wine. Of course, I googled before replying a firm yes. I came on http://www.dandelionwine.net/ this website of two older man playing 'filk music'. Seemed promising. The songs I grabbed from their website were pretty cool, and actually made me wonder why Malahki asked me whether I'd like this or not. I mean, come on, it's folk. That's totally my style.
Well, when the new package-o-CD's arrived, I noticed quite soon that I was wrong. Just by looking at the front of the digipack. I just doesn't fit two older man (with all respect, of course). I turned it around, and there was the website of this band. Not a .net address, but a .com.au one. My mistake was clear, I found the wrong band with the right name. There are few things less annoying than two (or more!) bands with the same name. But my search went on. Ars Musica Diffundere was printed on the back. Well, that was promising. Ars Musica Diffundere is a small sublabel of the well known Black Rain label, having released music from Novalis, Predella Avant, Days Of The Trumpet Call and Kutna Hora. Not the worst bands around, and Dandelion Wine is now their label mate.
Dandelion Wine describes their music as 'ethereal post-dream pop'. Well, it's ethereal at times for sure, but the music can be pretty rough at times as well, in 'Malphacyte' for instance. Everything is pretty well balanced between soft dreamy pop and parts with a bit more energetic sound. There is plenty diversity to keep one entertained for the entire length of this release.
The longest track, 'Starry Messenger', deserves some special attention. It's by far the longest track on this release, with a grand total of over eleven minutes in length, while the second longest track is shorter than seven minutes. It starts off with some nice acoustic guitar play, soon to be joined by a flute and some percussion/drums. These three instruments keep you hooked for around five minutes, with their hypnotic and beautiful play. Usually, the instrumental songs are the shortest ones on a release. Dandelion Wine turns it around, making their only instrumental piece of music the longest on this release. Six minutes before the end, 'Starry Messenger' turns into some ambient song. Though a lot of ambient music is thought of as boring, one can't call this piece boring. Just give it a very good listen.
Then we're all of a sudden listening to Love Spirals Downwards. Well, of course we're not, but damn me if 'Little Pieces (I)' does not remind one of Love Spirals Downwards, one of my favorite bands I should listen more. Another point scored for Dandelion Wine. The follow up track, 'Little Pieces (II)' has a rather neofolk sound to it. Did I already noted down that there's plenty of diversity? Highly recommended for fans of the French Prikosnovenie label. Now, under what genre should we archive this?
English - Dutch - French - Italian
Review in Dutch:
Dark Entries - Belgium 2006
Dandelion Wine kende ik al van de Australische donkere sampler Crash Frequency, waar ze met het nummer Arc toch tot de hoogtepunten behoren. Het was een project dat me bijgebleven was door de schitterende rustige sound met zalige female-vocals.
Deze full-CD gaat perfect verder op deze weg: mooie en zuivere (niet evident) vocals op een meeslepende sound van fluit, piano, akoestische gitaar en enkele eenvoudige electronische arrangementen. Denk ergens tussen Dead Can Dance, Deine Lakaien en de vroege Hoover(phonic). Ja, zelfs een zweem van Garbage's "Milk" schiet door mijn hoofd bij het horen van dit zalig album.
Deze plaat voert me weg, laat me dromen... De vocals zweven door mijn hoofd als een echo in de leegte... Naomi Henderson heeft me met haar stem betoverd en Nicholas Albanis ketent me vast met zijn muziek.
Op het einde kan ik maar aan 2 dingen denken: 'don't let go' en 'duw op repeat'.
English - Dutch - French - Italian
Review in French:
From Dusk To Dawn - France 10.2006
Commençons donc justement par Ars Musica Profundere, filon folk du label allemand qui nous a dégoté une petite pépite au nom de Dandelion Wine (titre d'une nouvelle de Ray Bradbury écrite en 1957 dans laquelle l'auteur exprime son amour pour les moments magiques de sa jeunesse), duo australien composé de Naomi Henderson et Nicholas Albanis. Leur deuxième album intitulé "An Inexact Science" ne parle pas d'alchimie comme on pourrait le penser en parcourant les illustrations du livret mais semble davantage composé, d'après les textes, sur le thème de l'amour. Leur univers "éthéreal post-dreampop" est riche et varié : le style prédominant reste une musique folk aux multiples instruments classiques et traditionnels comme la guitare, le dulcimer, la flûte, le luth et la mandoline ("Stable", "Malphacyte" et "Starry messenger"), mais certains passages, plus rock, se rapprochent davantage de PJ Harvey ("Black glitter", la seconde moitié de "Tulip eyes"). Pas particulièrement dark, Dandelion Wine nous emmène néanmoins dans un monde apaisant teinté de magie
English - Dutch - French - Italian
Review in Italian:
Twilight Zone - Italy 10.2006
Il progetto australiano di Nicholas Albanis e Naomi Henderson, coadiuvati da un ampio numero di session men, giunge al suo secondo lavoro con fulgido splendore, eseguendo i dieci brani del CD con una larga varietà di strumenti classici, pur non disdegnando l'uso di tastiere e programmings.
Si giunge così ad una varietà di soluzioni che appaga più palati: si va dai temi neoclassici (Stable e Muscle Memory) caratterizzati dalla voce eterea di Naomi -che all'occorrenza sa variare su toni differenti-, per passare sia a songs dalle sfumature etniche -memori della seconda stagione dei Dead Can Dance-, che a echi folk rock e sperimentazioni inaspettate con inserimenti di riff di chitarra come in Malphacyte, fino a giungere al lirismo medievale che affiora in più brani grazie anche all'uso del flauto e ai brani spiazzanti prettamente ambient, con virate da psichedelia anni 60, collocati a fine disco (Starry messengerLittle pieces II).
Questa nuova realtà ha molte frecce al proprio arco e riesce a raggiungere l'alchemica mistura di strumentazione classica e sonorità sintetiche garantendo un interesse sia sul piano tecnico-esecutivo che su quello, più arduo, dell'atmosfera: l'ascolto è d'obbligo!
Banner image by Arthur Koek