"Queen of the Meadow" by Elysian Fields (2000)
Elysian Fields is another one of those dream-pop bands on Jetset Records that puts you to sleep, in a good way, with its soothing melodies. I swear, singer Jennifer Charles has to have one of the sexiest singing voices I've heard alongside Bjork, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple and Mazzy Star. The first song, has an etherial dreaminess with peaceful guitar and piano as Charles calls out "Touch me now, touch me." Most of the tracks gravitate downward into this sensual world of whispery and seductive lullabies, such as the drowsy, "Dream Within a Dream" and the eerie, "Barely Recognize You," though there are some that strike a lounge-singer groove, as evidenced on "Rope of Wheels," and the writhing, "Cities Will Fall." True the band's defining nature lies in these soft and surreal love songs, but in my opinion, they really start to shine when they introduce a strong beat into the mix. "Hearts are Open Graves," is one of the somewhat upbeat songs that will arrouse you from all this somnambulant serenity that makes the album almost exclusively a pre-slumber listen. Though songs like the hauntingly rich "Tides of the Moon," and "Fright Night," would be well suited for a slow dance, perhaps as a prelude to a kiss etc. The only song that really falls outside of this paradigm is the danceable, organ-fueled seductive toe tapper, "Bend Your Mind," which kind of reminds me of that Poe song, "Hey Pretty." The perfect mix of Charles' voice and the kinky beat on this song will get anyone in the mood for a spirited romp in the sheets. The Queen of the Meadow would have been a stronger record were there more tracks like this one. Still the hypnotic whisper-sexy voice of the lovely Jennifer Charles is enough to cast a spell on most any man with a pulse, as well as some of the ladies I would imagine. Whatever you do, don't slide this one in your car stereo when you're driving at night, or you'll likely be helping the Queen of the Meadow push up the daisies.
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