bleeding heart narativeHot on the heels of the collaborative effort with Gosia Winter comes album number two from Oliver Barrett aka Bleeding Heart Narrative.Although essentially the vision of one man; the sound of Bleeding Heart Narrative is vast, with songs often comprising of piano, string arrangements, electronic noise, and choir harmonies. Barrett’s not just a mendacious knob twiddler though, his project Bleeding Heart Narrative is almost an orchestral endeavor.Those who discovered BHN through his debut album All That Was Missing We Never Had in the World will not be disappointed with Tongue Tangled Hair. If anything, the way Barrett has honed his craft will only further enrapture you to his significant charms. Those discovering Bleeding Heart Narrative for the first time are in for a considerable treat.The droning introduction of 'At The End of It All' is a slow burn admittedly, but the building patterns that drift from the maudlin sighs of the harmonium begin to mount with dramatic effect. Chuck in a swelling orchestra and it’s not long before the hairs on the back of your neck are standing to attention and there’s a lump in your throat. This is poignant stuff, of that there is no doubt. Bleeding Heart Narrative treads the line between classical and post rock so carefully that genre definitions are completely blown out of the water at times – all that matters when these songs get hold of you is emotion.The clever use of strings and heavily delayed/manipulated guitars mean that the first points of reference are those of Sigur Rós and perhaps Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La-La Band. When Barrett adds a vocal element to proceedings he flavours the songs with elements of rustic folk music and Gregorian chants. It’s a broad palette that he employs, but the urge to mix everything into a brown fudge of noise is something that is sidestepped beautifully.'The Cartographer' is the closest thing you’ll find to a definite pop song here. With a strong vocal sounding as if it’s been recorded in an abbey to the fore, it ensnares you from the start. This is an unusual stylistic choice for Barrett as he normally builds the instrumental melody to a crescendo before allowing the vocals to add texture. Where 'The Cartographer' succeeds is by allowing the vocals to lead the song and then building the crescendos around it but still allowing the voice to be the dominant force. It’s a truly stunning piece of music that soars away, taking you with it. He might be singing about giant skulls, but skulls are beautiful things too, particularly when they’ve got a soundtrack like this.Tongue Tangled Hair is a more consistent record than its predecessor. Barrett appears to have refined his technique, meaning that these songs are far easier to associate with. His arrangements may follow the basic, “start quiet and build from there” model established by countless post-rock bands, but his penchant for bombast and warmth means that generally these songs manage to reach right into your chest and cause your heart to flutter.The folk inflected David Foster Wallace might not be to everyone’s taste, but the sorrowful thrum of the cellos makes it irresistible, even if it is hard to shake the image of Barrett dressed as an extra in the Wicker Man in order to deliver his vocal. The quiet/loud formula is nicely exploited as the song reaches its climax. It doesn’t so much build as explode in volume. For a few moments, Bleeding Heart Narrative becomes uncharacteristically terrifying.Tongue Tangled Hair is a stunning record, and one that finds Barrett in sensational form. When it is performed live there won’t be a dry eye in the house, and when they play David Foster Wallace, there’ll be a fair few damp seats too.RECOMMENDEDBleeding Heart Narrative on MySpace