In­die/folk

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Doug Wallen

For My Crimes Marissa Nadler Bella Union Records Be­tween her spec­tral war­ble and stark song­writ­ing, Marissa Nadler com­mands close at­ten­tion with­out re­sort­ing to showy turns or clut­tered com­po­si­tions. Her first al­bum to fea­ture cover art she painted her­self, For My Crimes is an­other re­li­able slow-burn. Yet as soli­tary as the mu­sic can be, col­lab­o­ra­tions are key this time around: ac­claimed peers such as Sharon Van Et­ten and An­gel Olsen sing se­lected har­monies, while Mary Lat­ti­more adds a harp halo to Are You Re­ally Go­ing to Move to the South? On the stand­out Blue Va­por, Hole drum­mer Patty Schemel and string ar­ranger Janel Lep­pin join forces to im­part pal­pa­ble drama. That par­tic­u­lar track is so valu­able be­cause it breaks up the fa­mil­iar pro­ces­sion of hushed rever­ies and laments, as does the wel­come burst of move­ment within the clos­ing Said Good­bye to That Car. Nadler’s del­i­cate voice is rich with nu­ance, whether lean­ing to­ward a lone­some coun­try pull or gospel-style redemp­tion. Her lyrics are neatly evoca­tive, of­ten hing­ing on sim­ple rep­e­ti­tions of the ti­tle phrase and poignant pleas such as “Please don’t re­mem­ber me for my crimes”. I Can’t Lis­ten to Gene Clark Any­more is a glacial tri­umph, de­tail­ing how the mu­sic we love can get tied up in times we don’t want to re­mem­ber. But given such folkie strum­ming and the fact that only one song passes the four-minute mark, the al­bum feels like a se­ries of promis­ing sketches. Flame Thrower es­pe­cially van­ishes too quickly into the ether, a gor­geous meditation on trans­for­ma­tion by fire that could have been nur­tured longer. Then again, that fleet­ing sen­sa­tion only sends us back that much sooner to revisit these gos­samer of­fer­ings.

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