Back in 1998 a singer songwriter from Ireland by the name of Perry Blake released a debut album full of the misery-tinged ballads that Scott Walker was producing some 30 years earlier. Despite critical acclaim Blake then seemed to disappear off the British radar. In fact he had signed to a French label. It's not difficult to see why he did this as the British public probably wouldn't have much time for his suave yet highly emotional recordings. 1999's 'Still Life' is once again ballad heavy with strings and piano often the only accompaniment that can be heard; there's also an oddly homo-erotic feel to Blake's wounded, lovelorn vocal. The first four songs deliver in the classy and brooding stakes but it's pleasing to see the template varied a little with the sensual white funk of 'If I Let You In' and the swooningly melodramatic chorus of the title track. The tear-stained moments never tail off either with Francoise Hardy's guest appearance on 'Stop Breathing' making up a highly remorseful trio alongside 'Bury Me With Her (Julia)' and 'This Time It's Goodbye'. In lesser hands this would be unlistenable and depressing but Blake seems more at home in this environment than anyone else at the moment.