Keen-earned musos may have heard of Alfred A. Darlington before - the producer has made a name for himself in recent years as electronica experimentalist Daedelus. This side project, however, provides a stark contrast to his techie meanderings. The Long Lost sees him team up with his wife (Laura B. Darlington) for a low-volume, low-intensity album of guitar-based folk songs.
In one respect, the duo's music fits perfectly with the image that their names and album sleeve alone conjure up: a quaint English couple sipping Earl Grey under a parasol on a rolling green lawn, or perhaps members of 1920s high society on their way to one of Jay Gatsby's infamous parties. Contrarily, however, they're based at the world's hub of glitz and glamour, LA - although that city's influence is non-existent. In fact, much of 'The Long Lost''s serene, shuffling acoustic composites would best suit a Parisian boulevard; their chic, sparse stylings also recall a certain element of Bebel Gilberto's sophisticated world music.
Vocally, Laura's Nico-aping hum - which rises and falls like a sleeping giant - dominates proceedings, with her husband's deep thrum occasionally chipping in to harmonise. 'Sibilance', in particular is an ear-catching number for its clever lyrical assonance alone. So, too, is 'Cat Fancy', which opens with a vocal sample of an old woman fondly recalling her cat Thistleblossom, before descending into eerieness - all disembodied vocals, sinister guitar and a flute refrain that wriggles through the song darkly.
The Long Lost's main fault, though, is perhaps in creating music that's almost too aurally relaxing; in the right frame of mind, you'll drift off by the halfway point and consequently miss some of the best songs. It's all quite lovely, but at fourteen tracks, it's just a bit too long.