Published Jan 31, 2014Since her appropriately titled 2004 debut Ballads of Living and Dying, Marissa Nadler has demonstrated herself to be a keen lyricist with a knack for hauntingly gorgeous arrangements and a voice that can heal wounds or spin gold. She could be a Neko Case or even Joni Mitchell level of alternative country/folk presence. July feels like that hope coming to fruition. Her sixth album since 2004, July is the Massachusetts singer-songwriter's first album for Sacred Bones, one of North America's hottest indie labels of the past half-dozen years, and was produced by Randall Dunn of Earth and Sunn O))) fame. With Steve Moore's synths, Phil Wandscher's guitar and the strings of Eyvind Kang at their disposal, Dunn and Nadler create a sound that's unhurried but lush and evocative, revolving around Nadler's brilliant acoustic guitar picking and mezzo-soprano voice, which gives wings to her soul-baring lyrics. Ethereal strings, guitar and softly humming bass arise in delicate arrangements around them.
She seemed to turn a corner on The Sister, the pared-down accompaniment to her eponymous full-length from 2011, and Dunn helps her drill it home here. Imagine a less gothic Chelsea Wolfe, when Wolfe focuses on acoustic instrumentation, mixed with a more ominous and experienced Angel Olsen employing less vocal vibrato.
Read an interview with Marissa Nadler here. (Sacred Bones)