Marissa Nadler, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Muscle & Marrow | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Marissa Nadler, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Muscle & Marrow Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Tue., July 12, 9 p.m. 2016

Working again with Seattle producer Randall Dunn—best known for his work with drone merchants SunnO)))—Boston singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler deploys the richest sonic palette of her career on Strangers (Sacred Bones), a record of spooky beauty, hovering darkness, and emotional uncertainty. Her exquisite voice floats over meticulous arrangement—layers of melancholic strings, reverb-sopped guitar accents, subtly swelling synthesizer color bursts, spectral piano lines, and billowing feedback—like an apparition surveying different sorts of wreckage. On album opener “Divers of the Dust” she’s observing some kind of postapocalyptic wasteland where “waves were scraping city streets,” while on “All the Colors of the Dark” time has transformed the way she sees an old lover, though she’s changed as well (the track seems at least partly autobiographical, as the narrator has just married, like Nadler herself did last year). While there’s been an infusion of sunshine in Nadler’s music, there is also a discernible maturity—like she’s found a way to exist with the sadness and pain that suffuse life.

Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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