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Vashti Bunyan 

Just Another Diamond Day

Wednesday, Dec 1 2004
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Those smitten by the altfolk of Devendra Banhart and the sadcore of Low will go batty for Just Another Diamond Day, a reissue of Vashti Bunyan's sole album, originally issued in 1970, although previously unreleased in America. Her songs are in traditional British Isles folk mode, but with almost no "modern" refinement -- they could as easily be from three centuries ago as last year. Sung in a fragile, delicate warble, the tunes evoke a higher-pitched Mary Lou Lord, or a female counterpart to Nick Drake. The instrumentation is spare: acoustic guitars, dulcitone (a keyboard from the 1800s), fiddle, Irish harp, and whistle (the latter three contributed by Robin Williamson of '60s U.K. folk-rock icons the Incredible String Band). The tone is rural, contemplative, and downcast. The original album possesses a stark beauty but is a bit monochromatic taken in one sitting. This mood is broken somewhat by four bonus tracks from Bunyan's earlier association with Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Slightly more ornate, these have an enchanting baroque-pop ambience similar to the Stones' "As Tears Go By" and Nico's earliest recordings.

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Mark Keresman

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