Marissa Nadler

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Ballads of the Dying (2004), 5.5/10
The Saga Of Mayflower May (2005), 6/10
Songs III - Bird On The Water (2007), 6.5/10
Little Hells (2009), 5/10
The Sister (2012), 4.5/10
July (2014), 5/10
Strangers (2016), 4.5/10
For My Crimes (2018), 4/10

Boston's Marissa Nadler delivered ancestral gothic folk music on Ballads of the Dying (Eclipse, 2004) and The Saga Of Mayflower May (Eclipse, 2005), accompanied with acoustic guitar and little else.

Songs III - Bird On The Water (Peacefrog, 2007), backed by the Espers, marked a departure from the stark style of her first two albums.

Little Hells (2009) abandoned the last vestiges of freak-folk and unleashed the mad side of her personality, but the songs were not very musical yet, the same problem that surfaces from Marissa Nadler (2011): passion and sincerity, but, despite the polished production, it sounds more like a diary than music. Baby I Will Leave You In The Morning boasts the austere pathos of prog-rock elegies from Emerson Lake & Palmer and King Crimson. Alabaster Queen is emblematic of the problem: couldn't she just write down the lyrics and send them in an email instead of singing them lazily and casually strumming her guitar? The other solution, of course, is to leap for real and achieve the kind of otherworldly ethereal atmosphere of hyper-psychedelic singer-songwriters, which she almost does in The Sun Always Reminds Me of You.

Thanks to the hype that accompanied that album, The Sister (2012) was even less musical, although The Wrecking Ball Company boasted some of her best soprano howls in the purest English folk tradition.

Thanks to immaculate and glacial production by Randall Dunn, her dreamy falsetto fares a little better on the better arranged July (Sacred Bones, 2014), but ultimately this is yet another monotonous parade of identical songs, from the road epic Drive to the delicate elegy Desire with orchestral synth and echoed vocals, with Dead City Emily perhaps standing out. By comparison, the slightly livelier Was It A Dream sounds like an amazing achievement because it boasts a distorted guitar solo and chamber arrangements.

Lush orchestrations feature prominently also on Strangers (Sacred Bones, 2016), again produced by Randall Dunn. Katie I Know is the peak of melancholy, Skyscraper the peak of pathos.

The brief album For My Crimes (Sacred Bones, 2018), produced by Lawrence Rothman, returned instead to a chamber folk setting, with the notable exception of Blue Vapor.

During the covid pandemic she self-released the album Unearthed (2020) and the EP Moons (2020).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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