Song­writer finds new strength from bar­ing her soul on most in­ti­mate record yet.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

The lat­est in­stal­ment in the op­po­site of an overnight suc­cess story, as the Bos­ton song­writer hits an eighth-al­bum zenith.

Lovelorn, med­i­ta­tive – the whole thing sounds like a strong drink in a low-lit bar.


Marissa Nadler’s ca­reer has been less of a bright flash than a steady gather­ing of force, from the sim­plic­ity of her solo gui­tar days to 2016’ s fiercer, rock­ier Strangers. On her eighth al­bum the Bos­ton singer-song­writer is at her most pow­er­ful yet, tak­ing stock of a re­la­tion­ship as it cir­cles to a halt. It’s ex­actly the sort of ma­te­rial her voice was made for – lovelorn, med­i­ta­tive, a min­gling of pas­sion, rem­i­nis­cence and re­gret, the whole thing sound­ing like a strong drink in a low-lit bar from the past. These are songs that do in­deed seem to move through an­other era, from the de­light­fully mourn­ful I Can’t Lis­ten To Gene Clark Any­more to the pulse of Roy Or­bi­son be­neath Lover Re­lease Me and Dream Dream Big In The Sky. That out­law coun­try in­flec­tion feels ap­pro­pri­ate for a study of the lone­some and the lost; the ti­tle track, told from the per­spec­tive of a Death Row in­mate, car­ries the mood home. It’s the won­der­ful al­bum closer, Said Good­bye To That Car, that lifts it – a wry, slug­gish coun­try pop tale of ac­knowl­edge­ment that some­thing is be­yond fix­ing. Nadler has en­listed some sturdy fe­male clout for this record, in­clud­ing An­gel Olsen and Sharon Van Et­ten for vo­cal cameos. Though it’s the multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Janel Lep­pin who re­ally shines, her strings meet­ing the tremor in Nadler’s voice in a way that at mo­ments feels pro­found. In such com­pany, and with a new strength to her songs, Nadler’s force has never seemed greater. ★★★★ LAURA BAR­TON Lis­ten To: I Can’t Lis­ten To Gene Clark Any­more | For My Crimes | Said Good­bye To That Car

Crim­i­nal in­tent: Marissa Nadler hits a late-ca­reer peak with her eighth LP.

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