Almost Here

Feb 10, 1999 at 12:00 am

One top-40 UK hit and a series of EPs later, the well-connected trio from Oxford, England, Unbelievable Truth — the band’s singer, Andy Yorke is the brother of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke — delivers an alluringly moody album with a country-rock underpinning. Almost Here is not the usual bass-guitar-and-drums, Britpop effort. Instead, the album boasts classical piano cadences, vibrant string arrangements, surprisingly experimental changes in key, and lead singer Andy Yorke’s angelic, resonant voice that soars and sweeps through an emotional wilderness. Not so obvious, but admitted influences include Hugo Largo, Talk Talk and a certain G-string arrangements, surprisingly experimental changes in key, and lead singer Andy The Unbelievable Truth, this band took its name.

Some will find Almost Here depressing, while others will be pulled into the song’s delicate sensitivity. The typical lyrics of life, love, loss and uncertainty can, at times, come off as weak, but the song arrangements are, on the other hand, mature. “Angel,” with its unexpected, flat key change — which hints at an unusual lack of fear to experiment with typical rock-pop sounds — weaves together lead and backing vocals into aching harmonies reminiscent of Crowded House. The title track seems as if it was written to showcase Yorke’s evocative vocals, which are so strong as to suggest he’s trying to rouse you out of your comfortably apathetic, ’90s life into feeling something — anything.

The believable truth is that this album hints at the band’s ability to translate emotion into music. The production style makes this even more evident by allowing the listener to hear the sound “flaws,” such as the squeaky scratching of fingers sliding along the guitar strings and the sometimes imperfect breaking of Yorke’s voice.

Yes, the rumor is true: Talent does run in the Yorke family.