Anna Von Hausswolff – The Miraculous

Like music from another time: Swedish singer-songwriter Anna von Hausswolff sweeps us away to a darkly seductive fantasy realm on her third album The Miraculous. It’s an incredibly striking brew of Goth, Prog-Rock, Folk and Doom Metal, with Von Hausswolff’s lithe and dexterous vocals commanding our attention at the centre of it all.

Von Hasswolff would have slotted very comfortably onto the 4AD roster during the record labels most fruitful period during the eighties – there are strong echoes of Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins (to a lesser extent) on this album.

A dominant feature of the overall sound on the Miraculous is the use of the Acusticum Pipe Organ, one of the largest instruments of its kind housing an impressive 9,000 pipes. This, along with Von Hausswolff’s operatic vocals, lends the album much of its Gothic ambience, the dark heart beating at its very core. Opening with the nine minutes of ‘Discovery’, the record quickly hits its stride – Hausswolff lets her imagination run wild with ambitious arrangements that fuse and splice so many different genres.

Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Come Wander With Me/Deliverance’ another track that spares nothing in laying bare her vision – the sparse, ethereal intro slowly dissolving into feedback and chaos and a bludgeoning two note riff. It’s Von Hausswolff’s fearlessness and lack of restraint in terms of the arrangements that is both the albums weakness and strength – there are times when the whole thing sounds like it might collapse under its own semi-pompous weight.

But the words and music are delivered with absolute conviction – there is no hint of irony or humour, even when it is at it’s most shrieking and dramatic. It would be no surprise to see ‘Evocation’ feature in the best tracks of 2015 when the end of year round ups are compiled – it’s a brilliant distillation of everything that’s good about this record.

It’s an album that may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, an ambitious and challenging take on a kind of Adult Oriented Goth, occupying similar territory to contemporaries like Chelsea Wolfe. But there is no question there is much here to admire – The Miraculous is if nothing else, one of the most striking and daring records of 2015.

 

(3.5 / 5)