This isn't my first encounter with Thieves Kitchen, owning or having heard at least two other earlier albums. With two key members of Anglagard on board (Thomas Johnson (keys) and Anna Holmgren (flute)), it would seem a slam dunk for my tastes. And both pretty much sound the same as they would with their prior/other band (depending on the week). Johnson's Mellotron is all over it (sampled apparently utilizing Mike Pinder's tapes) and Holmgren's flute is as warm and beautiful as ever. And consider that earlier Thieves' Kitchen albums toyed with both a modern sound and a retro 70s outlook. That also remains apparent here. All of this is to my liking honestly. So what was the problem? The vocals. There can be no question that Amy Darby has talent and knows how to sing. That's not the issue. It's a style thing with me. Just as the "androgynous nasally whiny" modern male voice drives me nuts, so does the "breathy I-am-woman" vocals from the better half. It's soooo 2000's. And that's her style - every time she sings. There is no variation from that. But it is a fascinating juxtaposition with the 1973 Anglagard sound. And considering the album is instrumental in nature - I wouldn't exactly call these pop songs with accompaniment - then it's a matter of the ears adjusting. And they have.
So for you the reader, if you like the modern style of female singing and love retro prog, this will be one of your favorite albums. If you struggle as I have with the vocals, give it time or try for a different perspective (honestly that's what I did). If you don't like 70's prog - run far away.
CD: 2013 private
The CD is housed in a 3 part digi-pak with a lyric booklet.