Autistic Daughters is Dean Roberts? new art pop trio, which builds on the fractured melodic splendor of his solo debut ?Be Mine Tonight? with vivid articulation. ?Jealousy and Diamond? is in every way an improvement over that remarkable debut, with Martin Brandlmayr (drums, vibraphone and electronics) and Werner Dafeldecker (electric and contrabass) adding inspired counterpoints to Roberts? expanding grasp of songwriting and guitar, almost always draped in a fine electro-acoustic haze here. With each of these seven tracks the trio thrives for a hidden chord of subdued harmonic bliss and even occasional emotional catharsis, and Autistic Daughters aren?t afraid to turn up the volume and tempo either. Opener ?A Boxful of Birds? builds from a stunningly controlled backdrop of shuffling snare patter and detached jazz harmonies before opening up in a soaring vocal climax, complete with handclaps. This is an album of investigation, where every facet of a chosen melodic path is reworked and expanded with shakers, harmonium, percussive smears and dashes, voice and other subtler electronic flourishes.
Maybe it?s not what you?d expect from a guy who got his start making detuned guitar noise, but it makes some sense if the same fellow slowly diverted his energies towards a more minimal pop trajectory. Autistic Daughters take a tried and true formula and inject it with just enough invention and vitality to arrive somewhere new. ?Jealousy and Diamond? is a minor masterpiece of understatement that exposes the many varied nuances of a unique sound portal that leads directly to the soul. Brings to mind Neil Young?s ?On the Beach? and Nico?s ?Desert Shore? in execution and mood, but ends up better suited for serious headphones dissection. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (25 May, 2005)