Two of rock's most gifted impressionists, Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbons and former Talk Talk member Paul Webb (aka Rustin Man) join forces on this suitably ethereal collection.

Two of rock's most gifted impressionists, Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbons and former Talk Talk member Paul Webb (aka Rustin Man) join forces on this suitably ethereal collection. Released in the U.K. last year, the album veers away from Portishead's trip-hop sound and into the more organic, expansive terrain pioneered by Webb's old band. Shades of late singer/ songwriter Nick Drake (who receives explicit homage on "Drake") hang over the proceedings. Gibbons is in excellent vocal form: Her tremulous, emotion-wracked singing lends credence to such aching, string-laden originals as "Tom the Model" and the Billie Holiday-styled "Romance." The U.S. edition of the album includes a bonus cover of the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says." A superb excursion that will go down especially well in the wee small hours of the soul.—CM