It’s not often you come across an artist you can genuinely refer to as a ‘cult legend’, but Vashti Bunyan is truly that. A full 35 years on from her only previous album, the singer returns with her first new solo work, a breathtakingly beautiful album.
Now based in Edinburgh, Vashti’s story tells of the thwarted promise of early fame, disenchantment, long-term exile and eventual rediscovery. In the mid-‘60s, after quitting art school to concentrate on music, she was discovered by The Rolling Stones’ guru, Andrew Loog Oldham, signed to Decca and recorded a single written by Jagger / Richards. Reviews touted her as ‘the new Marianne Faithful’ or the ‘female Bob Dylan’ (though Vashti claimed to be neither), yet further singles remained unreleased, leading to despair and a rejection of the music industry.
As well as a neat balance between gentle, sparse songs and heavier, more orchestrated numbers, there is a beautiful play between the lush instrumental arrangements and the incredibly intimate, in-your-ear presence of Vashti’s voice.