Marissa Nadler has a voice that stands firmly on her own. On her previous albums and when she performs live, she needs a minimum of instrumentation to be effective. This time, she’s chosen to go for a fuller sound, choosing an approach akin to Chelsea Wolf. Dark music fits dark lyrics, I guess.
It works wonderfully well. Where she used to be firmly rooted in folk, she now shows a remarkable flexibility, switching effortlessly between her gentler folk songs and heavier songs. The choice for Randall Dunn as producer makes sense in that matter, since he has worked with artists that heavily rely on atmosphere before, like Sunn 0))) and Wolves In The Throne Room. She doesn’t go as heavy as those guys, but she gets just as bleak, something that isn’t always easy to convey in folk. And while being more dense, the songs still have her beautiful voice straight at the front of them all.
My favourite song is Janie In Love. It’s the best example of the change in style she is displaying. It’s all build-up, with the refrain being the outlet, all screeching guitar, while her voice is the light in the darkness. It’s very haunting and emotional, and shows that heavy doesn’t always has to be fast or noisy.
Marissa Nadler is an exceptional artist, and should be way more popular then she is at the moment. This album might be that breakthrough, with a more “rock” oriented sound. If you were a fan, you”ll still be one, and if you haven’t heard from her, this is an excellent way to get lost in the dark world of Marissa Nadler.