Though she began her recording career in the early ‘60s, this is just the second full-length release by Vashti Bunyan. (Her debut single, released on Decca in 1965, was “Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind,” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.) Despite this light output and her self-imposed obscurity — she left the music business entirely for over 30 years — she has attained a near-mythic status among British folk purists for her unique sound and list of credentials. She was once under the management of Andrew Loog Oldham and her 1970 debut, Just Another Diamond Day, was produced by British folk-rock legend Joe Boyd. Bunyan has a wispy, fragile voice that seems poised to crack at any moment, and she uses it to create a lingering tension threading through these songs. The lush instrumentation is airy enough for the delicate vocal foundation to support, whether it is a gently plucked acoustic guitar or a larger ensemble consisting of piano, a string quartet, French horn, trumpet, organ, flute, harp, and hammer dulcimer. The songs, at once intensely personal yet universal in theme, are focused on her experiences as a wife and mother and she explores the attendant feelings of love, loss, sacrifice, and the realities of domestic life: “Days going by in clouds of flour and whitewashing/Life getting lost in a world without end.” With Lookaftering, Bunyan offers a collection of intimate songs that deserves to reach beyond her current limited cult following.

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