The Sian Alice Group is a consortium of Brits who come across like Stereolab's grad-school serious older sister. Ms. Alice has a gently measured, high, girlishly wispy voice, and a few of the songs are based on minimalist-type cyclic patterns ("Way Down to Heaven," "Contours"), albeit of a considerably darker hue than 'lab's urbane bossa-samba. Further, for those still lamenting the absence of the Cocteau Twins, some of 59.59 is cause to rejoice — the gauzy harmonies, shimmering textures, and forlorn ambience of "Interlude 19'19"" and "Sleep" recalls the Twins in their mid-'80s prime. But as if to jolt listeners out of their reverie at the near-halfway point, "When..." features a brief free-jazz-like percussion freak-out before easing into a sparse folky melody.
On one hand, 59 is thoroughly captivating, a creative blend of hazy ambient resonance and actual songs; on the other, its overall tone is pretty much unrelentingly somber and cheerless. Whether one is enthralled or bored by 59.59 depends on personal taste/tolerance for meticulous/gloomy-type sounds. (The Social Registry)
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