Marissa Nadler – Strangers

I first discovered the music of Boston born singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler around the time of her magnificent 2013 release July. It was an album of beautifully crafted folk/goth compositions and displayed all the hallmarks of a talent that had been honed and developed over an extended period of time.

Listening back to some of her earlier material, you could see the evolution and growth of Nadler as a songwriter; she had been releasing records since 2004, quietly developing her unique sound and slowly building up a fan base, getting her music out there.

July felt like an album that finally announced that Nadler had arrived and her much anticipated follow up rubber stamps that view – Strangers marks a further evolution in her journey as a songwriter, and suggests that the July was no flash in the pan.

It doesn’t stray too far from what made July such a strikingly gorgeous record – Nadler’s ethereal tracked vocals and harmonies still command centre stage. Sonically, the album has a slightly harder edge with songs like the brilliant ‘Janie in Love’ possessing a rock drama that was not as evident on the more acoustic based July.

Elsewhere, the gorgeous’ All the Colours of the Dark’ is one of the best songs she has ever released while opener ‘Divers of the Dust’ has a distinctly Kate Bush feel with all the veiled mystique that entails.
Lyrically, it doesn’t seem to be as autobiographical as her last record; a cast of characters inhabit these songs; Janie, Katie and Diane, real people with real lives and real stories. Even if you could not decipher a single word on this record, the prevailing mood is one of yearning, of loss, of desire for something or someplace else.

Strangers is the sound of an artist still hovering close to the creative high point that was July; it’s a beautiful album that should see her legion of admirers continue to grow.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)