STATE OF GRACE Everyone Else’s Universe (3rd Stone)

"Everyone Else’s Universe" is the second album proper by the aptly named Nottingham quartet State Of Grace, who, during their five-year lifespan have been compared with the likes of Curve, Edith Piaf (both not necessarily something to shout about), Cocteau Twins and New Order (both something to shout very loudly about indeed).

The album begins with "Conspiracy", a twenty-three minute seven-part suite, but before you shout "Supper’s Ready" and run to the hills note that it ambles through the sort of lush and balmy pastures more normally visited by the likes of Transglobal Underground and Loop Guru, with lashings of sugary Saint Etienne/Dubstar synths and Orb/Pink Floyd atmospherics on top. In fact Sarah Simmonds’ vocals evoke a kind of grown-up Sarah Cracknell divested of all hints of kitsch

Other tracks include the more upbeat single "Perfect And Wild", powered by the kind of guitar sound that hasn’t been heard since George Harrison’s "All Things Must Pass" album, and the ambient dreamscapes of "Rose II". Best track award, however, goes to a truly revelatory, mesmeric eight-minute reading of Badfinger’s "Name Of The Game" that ambles gently through your consciousness like a slowly unwinding watch spring, all shuffly drum machine and mournful slide guitar. In a parallel universe this deserves to be number one forever (well, number two, after the complete works of The Blue Nile, of course), but the fact that the chorus doesn’t arrive until four minutes into the song suggests that it has No Commercial Potential in this one, which is a minor tragedy. It’s also a shame that State Of Grace’s own songs don’t really match up to the greatness of Peter Ham’s, but all things considered "Everyone Else’s Universe" is a saccharine-sweet treat of an album, done something of a disservice by the obligatory remix padding (even if one of them is by Jack Dangers, of Meat Beat Manifesto ‘fame’).