Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Rose McDowall, Naevus and Sonver - Music Box 2008

It's been quite some time since we heard from Rose McDowall. With Sorrow now defunct and Spell on a length hiatus this is probably the most recent material to surface from Rose, since her contribution to the split CD with John Contreras and Nurse With Wound. These two tracks clearly show that we've been missing the distinctive Scottish tones that sweetened the sounds of Death In June and Current 93, and made her a pop-star in the eighties with polka dotted Strawberry Switchblade. On 'Our Twisted Love' her bittersweet, lilting tones hover over gentle harmonium backing and slight orchestral touches, that swells with rudimentary beats towards a Velvet's type close. 'This Calling', meanwhile, is a fine take of her melancholic output, her voice spoken and sung in that warm Glaswegian brogue and beautiful honeyed melodies over acoustic guitar aided by a small string ensemble. Heartache has never sounded so sweet.

Naevus never fail to disappoint. Their two contributions are confined to the nucleus of Lloyd James and Joanne Owen with a pastoral acoustic reading of Pink Floyd's 'Green Is The Colour' and a fresh airing of 'Frozen!', which originally appeared on their 2001 album, Soil. With the acoustic guitar augmented by accordion and other sound devices it allows space to linger over the lyrics that Lloyd delivers in his comfortingly precise manner. They really are out on their own now. Heaven knows why I never got round to picking up their last full album, Silent Life.

SonVer, who I have never heard before, dip into that post-rock ambience. Their two tracks here are unhurried, content to let the tension build slowly before letting the guitars really burst through, as they do on the studio track 'AD'. Think Mogwai, Labradford and Godspeed and you're not too wide of the mark. Their other track 'Eyeman Praying' is much more ambient featuring a subtle interplay of eastern styled guitar with haunting cello over electronic hum. Enticing stuff but way too brief.

Like the A Challenge of Honour / Der Feuerkreiner release this is encased in a DVD sized slimcase in a numbered edition of 250 copies to commemorate a live performance in Lisbon. It's well worth your time, so don't wait too long. For more information go to