Until the Ribbon Breaks (often abbreviated to UTRB), is these days Pete Lawrie-Winfield. UTRB started as a British electronic/pop trio that also featured musicians James Gordon and Elliot Wall. The band’s name refers to the custom of making mixtapes that will ideally be played over and over “until the ribbon breaks.”. It was during the era of UTRB’s self-titled second album that Winfield began to face the fact that he had become dependent on alcohol and drugs. Gordon and Wall moved on to other projects, while Winfield set forth on a journey of sobriety and healing. The advent of COVID and renewed creative clarity inspired a new wave of musical creation and hence a new album `V I S I T O R` sees the light of day this month and completes the musical trinity of the previous collections `A Lesson Unlearnt` (2015) and `Until the Ribbon Breaks` (2018). 

`For The Birds` guides us in and it`s a gentle trippy ambient piece with vocals that share lyrics that appear to be quite introspective sprinkled softly over the enticing musical undertone. American rapper Homeboy Sandman adds his vocals to `Carousel` which allows a little light and shade to the track. The title hints at a merry go round but seems to be a metaphor for the circle of life and undertaking this short ride.

`Strange Times` is a hypnotic meditative piece that sounds slightly orchestrated and seems to reflect on the journey the artist has taken and is undergoing in his search for sobriety. There`s a beguiling appeal to `Red Skies` which has a Latin ambience about it and charismatic vocals from Columbian born artist La Pardo.

`Nature Mother` has at times a kind of afrobeat come gospel like texture about it with additional vocals from singer songwriter and vocal coach Emoni Wilkins. I thought `HUMAN` had a soulful feel and allowed an interesting slant as to how we enter or reach this mortal coil.

`I Was Wrong` opens in an almost ballad like style before melding into a more jazz, trippy, mesmerising sound. Emoni Wilkins once again adds her vocals to `Back From The Blue` an intense number that has orchestrated strings and really draws you into its many depths. Emoni`s vocals in the final sixty seconds gives the number a sense of redemption.

`Hellofazoo` is delightfully stripped back with mainly piano and vocals but enjoys strings and backing vocals as the number evolves. The title would seem to be a comparison of life being a zoo at times with similar chaotic behaviour. The album closes out with `Everything Else But Rain` with additional vocals from Lucius who may well be the American indie pop band. It`s a final trip hop tinged composition that ends abruptly.

`V I S I T O R`  is an all-encompassing listen which is at times soulful, ambient, and delightfully hypnotic. It`s lyrics are honest and emotional which i`m sure was both liberating and cathartic for the artist. The choice of guest musicians added a certain something to the tracks they performed on and didn`t overwhelm the album concept.

This was my introduction and initiation into the joys of Until the Ribbon Breaks and for me it was a delightful induction and will certainly ensure that I investigate previous releases.

There were many layers to `V I S I T O R` and i`m sure I will uncover many more each and everytime I return to listen.

Rating 8.5 /10

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