Marissa Nadler – Strangers – Album Review
Marissa Nadler returns with her 7th album, Strangers, on Rough Trade records. She has built a steady career and is starting to gain a main stream following, with late night radio starting to pick up on her work. The Boston born singer-songwriter has grown in confidence over the years, and uses her haunting vocal style to great effect. Her voice is quite unique and will certainly split listeners down the middle. The obvious and somewhat lazy comparison would be Kate Bush, but really her sound is quite different, despite having a similar enough whispered vocal.
The album opens with Divers of the Dust, a piano and vocal track that sets the mood for all to follow. At just under three minutes this feels more like an introductory note than anything more substantial. The next track Katie I Know is much fuller in sound, with guitar, bass and drums played over strings. Skyscraper is more familiar territory for fans of her earlier work. It’s a lush introspective piece, with a simple guitar line and heavily layered vocals and synth sounds filling the space. It’s a song that you could easily lose yourself in, and possibly the best on the album.
“Singing a lover’s song, it was higher than a Skyscraper”- Skyscraper
All the Colours of the Dark again uses a string section well, and builds a deceptively large sound, before being stripped away once more. Janie in Love is something of a surprise, and could easily be described as a rock! Shadow Show Diane starts with a strummed guitar before layering vocal harmonies. Final song Dissolve dispenses with the various tricks for a simple single vocal along with picked guitar.
“I know it’s crazy to keep this from my man, waiting for Shadow Shows, Diane.” – Shadow Shows, Diane
This album will not surprise fans of her work, but will no doubt help her reputation grow from another solid release. The sound is fuller than on previous outings, with larger arrangements building slowly over the duration of the songs. The lyrics are less personal than on previous releases, creating characters such as Janie, Diane and Katie, named in various tracks. She exudes a frailty that can be quite poignant and evocative, with these songs of loss, loneliness and love. It is a delicate sound that demands the attention of the listener, like a whispered voice that forces the ear to strain.
Marissa Nadler is also playing live in Ireland soon:
May 28th – Button Factory, Dublin
May 29th – Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Track List –
1. Divers of the Dust
2. Katie I Know
4. Hungry Is the Ghost
5. All the Colours of the Dark
7. Janie in Love
9. Shadow Show Diane
10. Nothing Feels the Same