Since the early 1980s Colin Vearncombe has released several classy albums, mainly under the name Black, the name with which he experienced greatest success with Wonderful Life and Sweetest Smile. For a time he dropped the moniker but has returned to it for his most recent records. Having said that, this is his first studio album for six years, and Blind Faith sees him recapturing some of the early magic.

Released with the help of crowd funding, Blind Faith is produced by Calum Malcolm, who has previously worked with Prefab Sprout and The Blue Nile. It is with the latter that Black has most in common, and there are touches of that forlorn melancholy for which Blue Nile were so revered. But rather than the longer sweeping reflections that Paul Buchanan's band were notable for, this album keeps things tight. No song runs longer than four minutes and each feels like a cleverly constructed musical sonnet.

Whether it's the fact that recent touring around Europe has focussed Vearncombe's songwriting or maybe it's because fans have contributed to the costs, but Blind Faith oozes class. Stone Soup is a sumptuous ballad, with echoes of his previous single Feels Like Change; Good Liar, Womanly Panther and Not The Man follow the same template of simple but precisely placed production. Vearncombe's voice is also as its seductive best. The album is co-written with Calum MacColl (son of Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl) and that has helped produced his strongest collection of songs for almost twenty years. A welcome return to form.

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