'Before You Left' underlines Roger Quigley's credentials as an expert purveyor of slowly unravelling melancholic pop. Over more than a decade, both on his own and as leader of Manchester's Montgolfier Brothers, Quigley has developed a distinctive style of composition and delivery. The voice, increasingly rich and sonorous, presides over a backdrop of delicate, repetitive guitar arpeggios and sweeping cello. The mood - soporific, hypnotic - recalls Spiritualized's woozy refrains as well as the likes of Bill Callahan and Leonard Cohen, with whom Quigley has been compared in the past.
Regular live collaborators Sophia Lockwood and Otto Smart bolster the music, and there's an appearance by Doves keyboardist Martin Rebelski, who wrote and arranged Let Her Go with Quigley. With a knowing nod to A Man Alone, Sinatra's bleak exposition of love and loss, Before You Left unblinkingly explores the collapse of a relationship with the help of recurring melodic motifs.
In a recent blog, former Creation and Poptones boss Alan McGee declared: "With their baroque music, regretful lyrics and northern soulfulness, the Montgolfier Brothers should have been huge". With the release of 'Before You Left' there's still time to catch up with At Swim Two Birds.