Marissa Nadler – “July” (2014)

Label: Bella Union/Sacred Bones Records

Review by Alessandra Cognetta

Marissa Nadler’s “July” is a pensive, melancholic album. The artist is able to set a mood that goes from acoustic quietness to sounds that are not too far from doom, as the song “Dead City Emily” would suggest. There is also a bit of country in the mix, for example in “Holiday In” or the evocative opening piece “Drive”. Her light voice floats on the music, whispering the lyrics from, it seems, a distant place. And yet the words are present, immediate and full of meaning. The music is very dark and the atmosphere it creates is almost smothering, but Marissa’s voice seems to cling to something, to establish a link, a support, between the music and the listener. The instrumental bits, on the contrary, slip away from us, like the strings at the end of “1923”. It’s a fascinating work, maybe a tough listen at first, that could discourage some. But perseverance is definitely rewarded, for a more focused approach reveals the rich composition behind the music. The songs are all very homogeneous – maybe a bit too homogeneous – but “July” shows that Marissa has found the perfect balance within her own style and each song is proof that she has mastered her own tools of the trade.

Rating – 70/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Drive (Fade Into)
  2. 1923
  3. Firecrackers
  4. We Are Coming Back
  5. Dead City Emily
  6. Was It a Dream
  7. I’ve Got Your Name
  8. Desire
  9. Anyone Else
  10. Holiday In
  11. Nothing in My Heart

 

Line Up

  • Marissa Nadler – Vocals, guitar
  • Phil Wandscher – Guitar
  • Jason Kardong – Pedal Steel Guitar
  • Eyvind Kang – Strings/Arrangements
  • Steve Moore – Keyboards
  • Jonas Haskins – Bass
  • Pat Schowe – Drums

 

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