Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Songs III, Bird on the Water.

Played early in the morning, Marissa Nadler makes my quiet and gloomy basement apartment feel like the setting of an obscure indie movie, one with a tragic plot and perhaps (or rather, ideally) co-starring Ryan Gosling. Her songs are haunting and beautiful, and as I sit here with a cup of tea, I wish I were a tortured artist or something as poetic.

Her voice starts off almost timid, but with a breezy quality that is perfect for the delicate instruments she is accompanied by. The perennial acoustic guitar is paired with violins, harp and even electric guitar. This latter, found on Rachel, was an addition that I didn’t think I’d enjoy on a folk album, but it fits so well that I cannot seem to imagine the song without it. The airy flute on Thinking of You is another pleasant surprise, with the instrument sounding like an extension of Nadler’s voice.

On some of the folksier tracks such as Leather Made Shoes, Nadler often sounds like she’s channeling Patsy Cline’s ghost. I would venture to say that if Patsy Cline were alive today, they would be friends. Oh to hear them collaborate on Tomorrow is a Promise...

She has cited Leonard Cohen as one of her influences, and to support this claim, her latest album includes a cover of Famous Blue Raincoat. And while interpreting one of Canada’s greatest poets can be daunting, Nadler masters this task with a rendition that is both incredible and lingering.

Her breathy, ethereal vocals echo and chill, and though it may take a few listens to get used to her styling, the whole album is a treat that I have allowed myself time and time again. Kind of like a long poem that you have to read a few times to understand, but that you end up loving in the end. A little patience goes a long way, and in this case, it’s so worth it.

Songs III, Bird on the Water (2007) is the 26 year old American performer’s third album, following Ballads of Living and Dying (2004) and The Saga of Mayflower May (2005).

I am leaving you with a few treats that I think you will enjoy, one is my favorite, the other is a harder-to-find Radiohead cover that is not on the album.

Famous Blue Raincoat
No Surprises

1 comment:

Lola said...

yesssss this album is so so good. diamond heart = best.