44.1kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Anti-/Epitaph (supplied by www.hdtracks.co.uk)

A unique voice, Beth Orton presents her first album in six years, on which she sounds free and assured, ditching the dance and using new voices to deliver her detailed lyric-busy songs at the head of a folk-rock band which scales any number of heights at various paces, some up (and a tad dynamically compressed), like the single ‘Magpie’ and summer stomper ‘Call Me The Breeze’, but most down, the trad folk of ‘Poison Tree’ and her trademark scratchy strings and lightly plucked guitar on ‘Mystery’. The sole piece of affectation is ‘See Through Blue’, a poorly conceived if confidently presented serving of cod-cabaret. Elsewhere there’s a late-night feel, her voice and her harmonies ever beautiful, with some fine pianissimo performance from jazz drummer Brian Blade. For those who worry, this album is carbon-neutral if purchased from a legitimate source. JF

Sound Quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Even the gentler tracks, including ‘State Of Grace’ shown above, have a baseline level of about –17dBFs which leaves little range for piano, strings or Orton’s own voice. Instrumental harmonics are limited by the 44.1kHz sample rate. PM