The Lilac Time In the early Noughties I bought an album on the strength of the cover art. Black and red, the blurred outline of a face, a hand reaching up or out (to protect, to caress?) and ‘The Lilac Time’ in white text, off-center. Simple. Powerful. Who was this, their music nestled deep in a busy CD rack in HMV, surrounded, with some artistic licence, by Leonard Cohen and Linda Ronstadt? I know exactly where I was the first time I played it. A flat in Chelmsford, slumped in a chair, curtains drawn against the rest of the day. Prepared to be underwhelmed, I almost fell off it. I couldn’t name it then, and still have difficulty now; what was I hearing, what was…