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The Sand and the Stars

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Album Review

The Sand and the Stars, the fourth full-length release by Bristol's Movietone, is literally a musical journey, taking the players from the beach to the city and finally ending up "on a coast path, illuminated by a lighthouse." Movietone continue with their intensely delicate music, but this time around the shimmering music seems to be more intimate, more organic, and closer to the listener in sonic space than the atmospherics of Day & Night and Blossom Filled Streets — elements that may be due to the locations of recording. The production by Matt Jones is a bit more aggressive than Movietone's other works, but still captures that heart-wrenching quality of Movietone through the instrumentation and wonderful vocal work. Melancholy like all of their records, Kate Wright's wonderful vocals haunt against the acoustic instruments playing off one another. A communal, dark campfire vibe shines through on "Pale Tracks," where Sam Jones, Matt Jones, Kate Wright, and Rachel Coe all have vocal duties and sing with the swirling nature of the music. "We Rode On" and "Snow Is Falling" are Movietone at their best, using various instruments like clarinet, cello, banjo, bass saxophone, trumpet, double bass, drums, and guitar set against wave samples in the background, creating a chilling environment. "Near Marconi's Hut" rounds out the record, leaving the listener with a sadness that The Sand and the Stars is over and a longing for more from Movietone. The Sand and the Stars is another wonderful release from Movietone, keeping you in the imagery of a movie you saw a long time ago or a dream that you cannot shake from your memory.


Formed: 1994 in Bristol, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Formed in Bristol, England in 1994, Movietone displayed its quiet, sensual songs on a number of releases in the mid '90s for the Planet, Domino, and Drag City labels. Band members Florence Lovegrove, Matt Elliott, Rachel Brook, Kate Wright, and Matt Jones issued two 7"s with Planet before their self-titled full-length debut came out in 1996 -- two more 7's would follow before their Drag City debut, Day and Night, in 1997. The band then went on a three-year hiatus before producing their next full-length,...
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The Sand and the Stars, Movietone
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