claire rousay – Sentiment

A beautiful experience of audio fragility...

There’s a quiet assurance to each note on claire rousay’s new album ‘Sentiment’. Spartan but emphatically intense, each song is reduced to its essential elements, skeletal messages of yearning, loss, and hope. Enveloping you in feeling, the impact is much more than the sum of its parts – piercing you to the core, ‘Sentiment’ seems to draw you in to claire rousay’s world.

Opening with a voice note, it’s clear from the first second that this album is designed as a message, as a letter, even. Hand-crafted, the music is blended with field recordings, the Texas-born composer thoroughly erasing the fourth wall. As a result, early highlight ‘Head’ is almost unbearably emotive – you can almost hear her fingers on the guitar strings, while the vocoder-aided vocal is somehow both alien, and totally revealing.

‘It Could Be Anything’ is truly gorgeous, while Claire swaps guitar for hushed notes of piano on ‘Sycamore Skylight’ – the disintegrated sonics brought down to a base level, before being rebuilt, anointed with footsteps, and horns from traffic.

Opening her world to two guest voices results in a pair of real pearls: Lala Lala guests on ‘Please 5 More Minutes’, its tale of longing offset by the beatific closer ‘Ily2’, Claire’s voice paired to Hand Habits.

It’s the Broken Social Scene referencing ‘lover’s spit plays in the background’ that has perhaps become the record’s breakout moment. One of the more traditional pieces of songwriting on the record, it contains all the delicacy and quiet strength of a spider’s web.

A wonderful achievement, ‘Sentiment’ seems to pick you up at one point, and deposit you at a different destination. Enriching yet austere, its methodology seems to embody the title of a previous Claire Rousay song: ‘everything perfect is already here’.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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