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Friends Of Alice Ivy - The Golden Cage And Its Mirrored Maze (2014) - Review

Band: Friends Of Alice Ivy
Album title: The Golden Cage And Its Mirrored Maze
Release date: 15 August 2014
Label: Elysium Sounds

01. The Aerial Mariners
02. Song Of Lyra
03. Miranda
04. False Fox
05. The Sky Of The Bright Unfoldings
06. Igraine
07. Oars Under Glass
08. Song Of The Willows

Welcome to the world of wonders and beauty, to the return of innocence, of nostalgia and fairytales, and into the vastness of known and unknown universe, welcome into the world of fairies and small little creatures. Friends Of Alice Ivy with its gentle and soft caressing notes can take your imagination for a ride through everything mentioned. Australian trio which hears to the name Friends Of Alice Ivy was formed out of the ashes of ethereal/goth band Ostia which was quite popular in their homeland and abroad in the nineties. With this new incarnation, vocalist Kylie, multiinstrumentalist Amps and cellist Zora, released so far a couple of tentative EP's and are now finally out with their debut album that already with its cover artwork and title, The Golden Cage And Its Mirrored Maze, opens way to imagination and musically speaking it outshines everything these musicians did before. With quite a long list of guest musicians the three musicians created an outstanding collection of ethereal, soothing, emotional, melancholic, let's say even spiritual tunes.

Slowly evolving, gently caressing songs, full of outstandings ambiances and beautiful heart-rending melodies, are all of them emotionaly charged and still nicely dark veiled. Each one of eight songs is very rich in texture, even if sometimes the sound is simple and minimalistic, but with vast assortment of instruments used, piano, cello, harps, many layers of percussions, guitars and more it reaches kind of transcedental feeling. Everything is perfectly covered with angelic voice of Kylie and in "Oars Under Glass" it reaches in combination with backing vocalist, classical soprano singer Frances Catherine Brüggener, kind of pure exstatic culmination. There's a lot of hidden passion lying in each and every verse, but the most oustanding evolvement of almost epic, slowly building ambiances can be witnessed in the last song named "Song Of The Willows".

Classical tones, art rock touches, slightly psychedelic aspects, darkwave extensions and romantic soundscapes are so perfectly balanced, thus take the listener with its fluctuating melancholic sounds into another dimension that opens so swiftly as the first spacious notes of "The Aerial Mariners" engulfs you. Just listen to the beautiful dark harmonies of cello in much to short "Song Of Lyra", to warm darkwave emraces in "Miranda", or delightful medieval melody and enchanting vocal harmonies in "False Fox". Then how in such an elegant manner they enhance the tension with dark psychedelic touches in "The Sky Of The Bright Unfoldings", and leads the listener astray with ethereal ritualistic and historical orchestrations in "Igraine" There's no rush, no aggression and there are no bombastic elements used, but still The Golden Cage And Its Mirrored Maze holds an immense soothing power, in all of its delightfulness it's a perfect sonic experience to chill out in the cold winter days. At this point Dead Can Dance must come into mind, yet This Mortal Coil, Enigma and Cocteau Twins must have been kind of an influence for the authors of this album.

Those of you who enjoyed lately in the offerings of Autumn's Grey Solace, Saigon Blue Rain, The Moon And The Nightspirit and similar artists will find themselves at home with Friends Of Alice Ivy, but believe me that this Australian act is able to provoke even deepest feelings than any other of those mentioned acts. Friends Of Alice Ivy reached kind of a symbiosis between emotionaly charged melodies and intricate artistical details in their passive balladic approach to deliever their visions with those who unceasingly strive for something truly deep and audacious in music.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10