Saturday, December 3, 2011
Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler (2011)
Before the release of her brand new self-titled album, I had never heard of Boston songstress Marissa Nadler and what a tragedy that was. Around the time of her album release, We Listen For You championed it so strongly that I felt compelled to check out her music. But not with the new album. No, Nadler's music seemed like it needed time and devotion to truly understand so I set about starting at the very beginning and working my way to her newest album.
Marissa Nadler begins with the hauntingly beautiful "In Your Lair, Bear" a track that could very well just be the album. It's that good. It shows off everything Nadler does so well - her poetic narratives, her pristine vocals, and her utterly captivating compositions. At six minutes, she takes her time letting her tale unfold slowly but enchantingly and most importantly, unexpectedly. Nadler's songwriting is almost maddeningly strong. There's no sloppy rhymes or singer/songwriter bravado or self-importance. Instead Nadler lets the songs go where she feels they need to and steeps them in an overwhelming sense of quiet that makes the listener far more attentive. Instrumentation and lyricism are given equal tempering in a way that creates some stunning musical moments and only adds an extra layer to Nadler's narratives.
Marissa Nadler rewards dedicated fans with references to old songs, like "Mr. John Revisited", the sequel to Mr. John Lee (Velveteen Rose) off The Saga of Mayflower May and references to Ballads of Living and Dying's "Box of Cedar". But such knowledge isn't necessarily to fully enjoy the album. Nadler is a skilled songwriter and gifted in every sense. Each song a fully realized piece tended to with an artistic attention to detail. The result is an album in which each song is a treat and a thing of utmost beauty. Nadler is often lauded for the impressiveness of her dreamy landscapes but it's those moments when reality crystallizes amid those dreamy hazes that are really impressive most noteably in "Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning" and "Wind Up Doll". Marissa Nadler is an album of limitless beauty that manages to be literary, musical, and amazingly relate-able all at the same time. An absolute gem of carefully constructed art.
Get a taste of Marissa Nadler with a live video of "In Your Lair, Bear":