STATE OF GRACE Everyone Elses Universe (3rd Stone)
"Everyone Elses 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 "Suppers 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 hasnt been heard since George Harrisons "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 Badfingers "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 doesnt arrive until four minutes into the song suggests that it has No Commercial Potential in this one, which is a minor tragedy. Its also a shame that State Of Graces own songs dont really match up to the greatness of Peter Hams, but all things considered "Everyone Elses 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).