Singer/songwriter and ex-Japan frontman David Sylvian returns with his first collection of new material since "Dead Bees on a Cake" (1999).

Singer/songwriter and ex-Japan frontman David Sylvian returns with his first collection of new material since "Dead Bees on a Cake" (1999). "Blemish," the debut release from Sylvian's own Samadhi Sound imprint, is a stark and ambitious incarnation. Chillingly intimate, the album is a raw and autobiographical confessional wherein the artist exposes his inner struggles with the darker sides of love. Throughout the boldly experimental landscape, Sylvian eschews his traditional lush compositions heard on previous offerings. "Blemish" retains Sylvian's signature up-close-and-personal vibrato vocals, though. Highlights include the minimal and cerebral 13-minute title track, "Late Night Shopping" and the tranquil, poetic and wistful "A Fire in the Forest." Although several entries tread a thin line between self-analysis and self-indulgence, the standouts brilliantly convey the album's pervasive themes of fractured relationships, emotional turmoil, redemption, truth and spiritual enlightenment.—CR

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