For 14 years Marissa Nadler has been reinterpreting classic country, but adding an eerie gothic twist - on her new album ‘For My Crimes’ this reaches new levels of elegance.
The album opens with a self-titled murder ballad. As the song builds Nadler’s story of an execution is backed with delicate guitars, ethereal strings, siren vocal wails and eerie atmospherics. When it finishes the line "Please don’t remember me, please don’t remember me for my crimes..." echoes through your psyche. But this is going to be hard to forget.
‘Blue Vapor’ starts of gently and serene, but slowly builds and builds the tension until the outro when it lets rip and things get heavier and darker. This change of tone and texture is needed, as it wakes us up a bit from the lullaby nature of opening four tracks. Flourishes of Leonard Cohen, The Carter Family and Nick Cave are found throughout ‘For My Crimes’.
Lyrically, each song plays like an exquisite short story. Through the intricate word play we are given just enough information to know what’s going on, but not enough to get the full story. The rest is left up to us.
On ‘I Can’t Listen to Gene Clark Anymore’ we know that the narrator is away from her, or his, lover in Arizona, but we don’t know why. ‘For My Crimes’ is a glorious album that demands to repeat listens to try and work out the hidden meanings of its songs and stories. As the nights are drawing in, pull the curtains, dim the lights and give yourself to its country gothic charm.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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