Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler

January 01, 1970

(Box of Cedar)


What’s really special about Marissa Nadler’s spooky folk is
how deeply internalized it seems to be. That’s the quality typically separating
contrived songwriters from those who spin a traditional formula into unique and
affecting expression (see: Bon Iver and Sam Amidon as recent examples of the
latter). After two albums with unlikely running mate Kemado Records, Nadler has
set up camp with her own Box of Cedar label and woven 11 songs that are very
much worthy of being her For Emma,
Forever Ago


She and producer Brian McTear (Danielson, Matt Pond PA) have
opted for a continuous tonal motif on this self-titled LP, one that emphasizes
Nadler’s vocals against the backdrop of both her candid lyrics and flourishes
of picked- and slide-guitar, pitter-patter drums and organic atmosphere. Lead
single “Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning” is wisely chosen, anchored by a
vocal that, melodically, brings to mind Chrissie Hynde on “Stop Your Sobbing.”


Nadler is such a keen singer, evoking all the great heroines
of generations past, from Judy Collins to Hope Sandoval. But the arrangements
she and McTear have quilted together lend tracks like “Baby,” “Wind-Up Doll”
and funereal standout “Wedding” a kind of stalking charisma that sounds as if
it were soaked up from Robert Plant’s ball-sweat. And with that voice front and
center, the Boston-area native phrases cannily familiar lines such as “You look
like someone that I used to know” during “In a Magazine,” or “She will never be
what you want her to be” from “Wind-Up Doll” with a feeling that actually
connects you to the music. Which is an attribute overlooked by contemporary
artists in trying to keep up with the pace of digital distribution. And it’s
consistent throughout Marissa Nadler.


Chances are, this album won’t equate the success or acclaim of a For Emma, Forever Ago. The odds are stacked against female singers
who run their own labels these days, and it is a dark record. But it’s stridently,
honestly dark, which is a beautiful thing.


I Will Leave You In The Morning,” “Wedding” KENNY HERZOG


Leave a Reply