Review: Lutine – White Flowers

Lutine - White FlowersIt’s not a past I entirely recognise. White Flowers feels like a relic whose erosion points to a history spent tipping between alternate geographies, like ancient folk that has rolled between Far Eastern mountaintop silence, sea-born myth and the tidal, multi-directional churn of the modern day. The image tells of placid streams and farmland sunlight, yet there’s an accent that sits odd in the pastoral landscape; a city light or oceanic jewel stranded in the agricultural acres, manifesting as an atonal glint upon the ripple of melodic skyline, streaking the idyllic image with tiny glimpses of burdening thought, romantic decay and a past life spent elsewhere.

It’s gentle but never frail. Individual instruments (autoharp, strings, accordion) are held aloft by the voices that work in elegant mirror image, like leaves hoisted into the air by synchronised doves. Even as “So It Goes” pits single E-piano notes and fluttered breath into delicate balance, I never fear that they will collapse; somehow, I know that these songs have existed centuries before either I or Lutine came to be, with our bodies merely built to house the songs as either players or listeners. And yet, for the timelessness that carries this album backward and forward simultaneously, the voices of Lutine are breathtaking droplets of present tense: vibrato quivering like disturbed lakewater, notes descending like warm tears upon winter cheeks.