Album review: Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EP (Asthmatic Kitty)

Long-awaited new material makes for a disappointingly flabby return

Toying with people’s emotions is a habit reserved only for the most dreaded coves, and given Sufjan Stevens' beautiful, heartbreaking back catalogue, we didn’t think he practiced that sort of hot’n’cold tactic. However, as quickly as our hearts nearly exploded when he put up a new, hour-long EP for $5 download last week, they promptly deflated as it transpired to be one of his worst releases to date. The title track is 11 minutes of painfully celestial balladeering self-indulgence, a mess of standard-Sufjan jittering flutes mixed with the most offensive noise from his best-avoided early electronic period. Worst of all, it appears again as an eight-minute ‘Classic Rock Version’, flabby with noodling banjo in the vein of much of the rest of the record. This being an EP with such self-consciously excessive titles suggests – hopefully – that this is Sufjan excavating the contents of his famously fraught mind, leaving him ready to start afresh on a proper, better focused album.

Laura Snapes
3 / 10

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