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Astronauts

The Lilac Time

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Album Review

The last album by Stephen Duffy's underrated pop combo is, in many ways, its strongest. The group's gorgeous acoustic-based sound had been perfected by this point, and Duffy offers up his strongest batch of songs to date. From the sensual opener, "In Iverna Gardens," to the exquisite closing ballad, "Madresfield," this is a consistently great album. "Grey Skies and Work Things" is typical of the album's mood — quiet, sensual, melancholy, and romantic. "Dreaming" is a slight return to the dance-oriented sound that typified Duffy's pre-Lilac Time solo work, but it still fits in well with the more subdued acoustic numbers. The Lilac Time's only release on Creation Records, Astronauts sold poorly and the group split shortly thereafter. However, it remains — along with the solo follow-up, Music in Colors — Duffy's strongest work and a great introduction to his talents.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Cornwall, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Following a brief solo career under both his own name and the moniker Tin Tin, Stephen Duffy put together the Lilac Time, which traded in his former synth pop excursions for pastoral, folky English pop strongly recalling Skylarking-era XTC. Joined by Mickey Harris, Nick Duffy, and Michael Giri, Duffy crafted several eclectic albums making use of traditional instruments, beginning with a self-titled debut in 1988. 1989's Paradise Circus offered a bit of country & western influence, which was largely...
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Astronauts, The Lilac Time
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