“And I tried to write the saddest song in the world,” croons Adrian Crowley on the second track of his excellent sixth album. The majestic burst of strings which follow, though, dash any hopes he had of ever achieving that, and set a pattern that emerges throughout I See Three Birds Flying. His lyrics are as poetic as Poe, and equally dour (if not quite as macabre). But they're so invigorated by the beauty of his finely crafted songs, it’s difficult to feel anything but love for them.
Crowley’s deeply pitched voice recalls, at various points, Hannon (Divine Comedy), Callahan (Smog) and Cohen (no introduction needed). The accompaniment is excellently balanced: elegant, without ever being flowery. And while the occasional track passes you by (Fortune Teller Song), the middle three of Red River Maples, Juliet I’m In Flames and The Mock Wedding are as evocative a trilogy as you’ll hear this autumn.