The Upshot: Brooding chanteuse serves up contemplative Sunday morning sojourn.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
With Under Branch & Thorn & Tree, her fourth full-length LP, Samantha Crain has created her most affecting effort to date, an album that surveys a broad range of emotions and sensual suggestion. Certain songs purvey atmospheric allure — “Killer,” “Moving Day” and “All In” in particular — but when she opts to hone in on a truly gorgeous melody for the sake of conveying heartfelt sentiment, as expressed in “You Or Mystery,” “Elk City” and “When You Come Back,” the mood mellows considerably, allowing for a tender touch that’s truly radiant.
Still, this Sunday morning sojourn can be elusive; she comes across as a seductive siren who rarely settles for simple songs with predictable hooks and refrains. When she does pick up the pace, on the twangy and playful “Big Rock,” she does so only momentarily, casting it as the only upbeat entry on the entire album. Rather, Crain is obviously intent on fashioning herself as a twilight chanteuse with a sound that basks deliriously in ambiance and effect.
Under Branch & Thorn & Tree is a hypnotic sojourn to be sure, one that rewards repeated listens with a sense of lofty liberation.
DOWNLOAD: “You Or Mystery,” “Elk City,” “When You Come Back,”