New Buffalo's world isn't completely alien. There are touchstones, like the pastoral clubland of Beth Orton (who supplies guest vocals on "Inside"), the spare jangle of Blake Babies, the simmering torch music of Julie London. But none of this does justice to the lush soundscape that Australian Sally Seltmann conjures. She played most of the instruments and produced this album under the name New Buffalo. I'm in awe at how she managed to shape a sweeping melody for each of the 10 tracks on The Last Beautiful Day.
It's a distinct pleasure to bask in the sunlight of "Recovery," with its hopeful lyrics: "No more question marks/Sympathy cards/It's in the stars/Troubled times are clearing." The song leaves me no choice but to have hope--it's that effortlessly gorgeous. "While You're Away," meanwhile, is a tasty dessert of layered keyboards, each one carving a beautiful space for itself. And "On Sunday" is Sunday-morning music par excellence.