At roughly half an hour’s running time, the return of Elizabeth Fraser is an EP with all the heft of an album. Fraser’s gaseous soprano arrived fully formed in the 80s as part of the Cocteau Twins. Since then, she has lent her instantly recognisable instrument most famously to Massive Attack – her partner in life as well as in Sun’s Signature, Damon Reece, played drums for them – but hasn’t released a body of work of her own.
As you would hope, Sun’s Signature sounds like little else around. The pair fuse chamber music and trip hop, film soundtracks and Spanish guitar, dulcimers and vibraphones. Taking the natural world as inspiration – water and air get name-checks, birdsong is interpolated, Sun’s Signature refers to “the fulfilment of a flower” – this is an EP to fall into, as though in a swoon, its fine detail revealing itself over time. The seven-and-a-half-minute centrepiece, Apples, finds Fraser trilling at her most obviously Cocteau-y: offset by cloud-like production, the delicacy of her voice is undiminished by underuse. By contrast, Make Lovely the Day features a close-miked and crystalline Fraser accompanied only by guitar. These tracks began life at London’s Meltdown festival a decade ago; with no current plans to tour or record, this EP is going to have to last. It’s up to that challenge.