"My storehouse eyes, my Arabian bells/ My warehouse legs, my Arabian chimes/ Should I leave them by your gun?" It takes some talent to make a Dylan song even more cryptically impervious to meaning than it already was, but with this transposition of "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" in "Velvet Sun", the German singer-songwriter Maximilian Hecker has managed just that. Its brazen cheek also indicates the scope of his ambitions, which are big enough to match his talent. This fourth album - the title, he claims, reflects his dual longings for purity and eternity, some ambition in itself - presents him as a sensitive type whose gentleness hides sharp claws, with lovers characterised variously as a "vacuous bird", a "Wilted Flower" whose bloom no longer attracts him, and a "Messed-Up Girl" to be confronted over her infidelity. The settings are blends of guitar, piano and organ with tints of strings, woodwind and synth pads; the voice, perpetually on the cusp of breathy fragility and yearning falsetto, suggests a spirit hovering somewhere between Nick Drake, both Buckleys and José Gonzalez.
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