Recording information: 80 Hertz Mcr.; Compstall Mill; Eve Studios, Stockport; Phaedra Studios, Melbourne; Pollen Road; Vox Recordings Studios, Los Angeles.
Liverpool-born, Manchester-based indie folk artist Jane Weaver made an early recorded appearance as a solo artist on a 1998 split single alongside a pre-fame Doves and a pre-Finders Keepers Andy Votel. The two became a couple, and while Doves' star went on to shine the brightest commercially, Weaver's made a steady ascent. She released her debut full-length, Seven Day Smile, in 2006 on Bird Records, a Finders Keepers imprint co-run by the couple. While that record and its follow-up, Cherlokalate, represented tentative steps into psych folk, 2010's acclaimed Fallen by Watchbird furthered her interest in the mystical and the magical. Named in reference to Andrzej Zulawski's 1988 film On the Silver Globe, this offering finds Weaver playing to her strengths. On "Argent" she blends a hypnotic and repetitive Krautrock-inspired groove with otherworldly, pulsing synths -- displaying her obsession with the early electronic pioneer Suzanne Ciani and an affinity with the Ghost Box stable -- and provides multi-tracked vocals which nod to Laetitia Sadier's work with Stereolab. Elsewhere, the cavernous, rich vocal effects on "Arrows" alone are enough to get lost in, but add to the mix a steady, metronomic rhythm and a Twin Peaks-esque two-note bass motif and it has a timeless feel, even on repeated listens. The vinyl version of The Silver Globe hides "Arrows" away as the penultimate track; thankfully, however, the other formats place this highlight in an earlier position, directly after the Hawkwind-sampling "The Electric Mountain." There's other material here that could feel overly twee in the hands of her contemporaries -- hear the cartoon disco of "Don't Take My Soul," for example -- but it's Weaver's assured tone which ensures that this isn't the case. Her main achievement here is the fact that she effortlessly distills aspects of both the early electronic/library music/hauntology craze, and her psych folk grounding, into one highly accessible album. This is no mean feat -- while these genres can prove to be notoriously esoteric and abstract, there are inventive moments here which wouldn't sound out of place on mainstream alternative radio. "If Only We Could Be in Love" will undoubtedly interest fans of Goldfrapp, and "Mission Desire" is the album's true earworm, but the gentle folk of "Stealing Gold" is filled with enough of Weaver's idiosyncrasies to entice anybody into her world. For listeners new to her music, The Silver Globe is as good a starting point as any, not only to her own rich canon, but also to the weird and wonderful niche genres that have inspired her. ~ James Wilkinson