Woelv "Tout Seul Dans La Forêt En Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur?"

It’s hard to judge Woelv objectively, because if you’ve ever seen Geneviève Castrée’s incredible drawings, you already understand her aesthetic. Would her music be so evocative if it wasn’t accompanied by her cryptic storybook illustrations? Who knows, who cares. Castrée can draw much better than she can play, but she conveys a sense of herself without much more than a few notes and her voice. She whispers one moment and yelps the next, her vocals sometimes regressing into canonical babble and sometimes blooming into lovely harmonies; her husband Phil Elverum (Microphones, Mt. Eerie) provides some back-up. The album begins on a familiar, ’80s/’90s lo-fi note: an "enigmatic” and highly crushable woman in the Cat Power or Mary Timony mould, Castrée sings over twisting alternative-style guitar riffs and half-step chord progressions. There is the occasional burst of drumming, but for the most part, Castrée keep her songs as simple as possible. Melodies start to appear, and the album takes a bittersweet tone after a few tracks. Although the sound is quiet and pretty, the feel is visceral; soft-edged and remote, as though Castrée were singing in her sleep. There’s no way to wrap up Tout Seul in a critical package; the work comes straight from the artist’s head, which seems like a pretty neat place to be. (K)