Songwriter finds new strength from baring her soul on most intimate record yet.
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 FOR MY CRIMES BELLA UNION, OUT 28 SEPTEMBER
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.