Marissa Nadler – Strangers
The pace is never more than stately. The cathedral never less than sonic. Marissa Nadler’s new album is utterly captivating. The simple conceit at the heart of Strangers is that Marissa Nadler is some form of fey indie folk artist. Someone whose existential angst is at its greatest when deciding what type of eggs to have for breakfast. Someone who has to lie down in a darkened room at the very thought of a bug being squashed on a windshield. The songs start with gentle acoustic arpeggios. The little melodies are always clearly present. The vocals are under control. This is a very polite-sounding album. Yet behind the calm exterior there lies a mass of sound. A seething, writhing squall of guitar. A wall of drone. A mountain of reverb. This is nothing less than a David Lynch movie. The trick is to put the two sides of the music together in a harmonious way and, with the help of producer Randall Dunn, it’s one that’s perfectly executed. ‘Katie I Know’ starts off as a simple song, but ends with cutting strings. ‘Skyscraper’ towers down ominously throughout. And watch out because ‘Janie[‘s] In Love’. On Strangers, Marissa Nadler has taken her music to another level. A deeper, darker level, but one that fits with a certain imagined persona. And one that’s completely compelling.