(Box of Cedar)
A younger sibling to last year’s self-titled album, this
eight-song EP has a more casual, less fussed over air. Its arrangements are noticeably
less dense, its lyrics more down-to-earth, its vocals unadorned. Yet this Sister is no one’s plain relative; its
simplicity has been polished to too mysterious a sheen. Personal,
introspective, yet shot through with an otherworldly melancholy, the EP filters
experience through an opalescent lens.
Where Marissa Nadler took a literary approach, revisiting old song characters like Mr. John Lee and
Daisy, The Sister seems to look
backwards towards actual memories and living (or once living) people. Mysterious
“Constantine,” lost, melancholy “Christine,” the unnamed “loves” addressed in
two different songs-all arise like ghosts out of precise, evocative lyrics, not
stories at all, but personalities dimly glimpsed. A simpler approach to
arrangement, leaning on intertwined vocals and delicate, regular picking, has
only highlighted how eccentrically beautiful Nadler’s art can be.
“Constantine” JENNIFER KELLY