Personnel: Louise Rutkowski, Ikuko Kozu, Anne Garrigues, Tim Freeman, Caroline Crawley, Deirdre Rutkowski (vocals); Pieter Nooten, Ivo-Watts Russell (various instruments); Jon Turner, John Fryer (various instruments, programming); Jim Williams (guitar); Gini Ball (violin); Martin McCarrick (cello, strings); Jocelyn Pook, Sally Herbert, Sonia Slaney (strings).
Recorded at Blackwing Studios, London, England and Palladium Studios, Edinburgh, Scotland.
The third and final album by This Mortal Coil, 1991's Blood is neither as unfocused as Filigree & Shadow or as conceptually pure as It'll End in Tears, but it's a solidly enjoyable set. Once again, nearly half the tracks are instrumentals (or tracks with minimal and often wordless female vocals) written by Ivo Watts-Russell and John Fryer, but this batch of tunes holds together much better than the much more amorphous originals on Filigree & Shadow; lengthy atmospheric explorations like "Dreams Are Like Water" sound composed and thoughtful rather than merely pretty. And as always, the covers are brilliantly chosen. The twin highlights are two songs written by Big Star's Chris Bell; "I Am the Cosmos" is reinterpreted as a ragged, brink-of-chaos rocker that sounds like it could have been on Big Star's post-Bell magnum opus, Third, while a delicate acoustic version of "You and Your Sister" with wispy, unsure vocals by Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly ranks with the first album's reinterpretation of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren" as one of the group's masterpieces. Other gems include a near-symphonic reading of Spirit's "Nature's Way" and a version of Syd Barrett's "Late Night" that strips the song down to not much more than Caroline Crawley's voice and a low-frequency hum. ~ Stewart Mason