The cover of The Seven Autumn Flowers, the sixth album by London's Trembling Blue Stars, features a watercolor painting of a yellow flower falling into a landscape of muted blues and grays -- there's a lake, and some dead trees, and a fogged-in mountain range towering in the background. Trembling chief Bobby Wratten (best known for his tenure leading the Field Mice, the U2 of English twee-pop) couldn't have chosen a more appropriate visualization of his music if he'd tried: Autumn is full of drab, see-through budget-indie settings -- chintzy keyboards, anemic guitars, tempos that could stand a switch from green tea to black coffee -- into which Wratten (or, more frequently, his co-singer Beth Arzy) drops just enough light to keep you interested. In opener "Helen Reddy," it's a tasty blast of quickly strummed fuzz-guitar; in "Moonlight on Snow," it's Arzy's dream-machine backing vocals; in "All Eternal Things," it's a reverbed keyboard wash and Cure-lite guitar line that give Wratten's sensitive-guy despair the ring of significance.
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