Marissa Nadler
The Sister


3.5
great

Review

by Martin L. USER (44 Reviews)
June 19th, 2012 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: RIYL: heavy doses of forlorn nostalgia, chilly autumn evenings, artists taking control of their material and actually striking off in a worthwhile direction

The most prominent feature of The Sister is that Marissa Nadler, long-time play-by-the-rules songstress, exerting much more control over her artistic integrity and beginning to steer her discography in new, interesting directions. With a more flexible label, Box of Cedar, that she operates herself, Nadler is free to sweep her newest record under a film of hazy atmosphere and a gauzy aesthetic. Predictably, this complements her forlorn wailing and deliberate plucking quite nicely. It’s in this way that she artfully adds another (necessary) layer and dimension to her schtick; and in short, it’s a definite success.

The sound of The Sister is a simple one, but it’s wonderful to see a talented artist like herself straying in this direction. Nadler’s voice drifts slowly and mellifluously in-between her carefully-picked, sparse chords, together which quietly establish a strong aura of ambience-- The Sister’s most defining quality. Each track bleeds seamlessly into the next, making the album self-contained-- even dark or bleak. Nowhere is this more evident than the whispery and strained vocal tactic Nadler employs on closer “Your Heart Is a Twisted Vine.” Lost love and nostalgia are fittingly two common lyrical themes, throughout. Similarly, “In A Little Town” is a wistful, dreamy track that captures the essence of The Sister, recounting memories and past loves as her voice sails to celestial heights.

Again though, The Sister doesn’t do wonders to truly highlight the prowess that the songwriter may be hiding behind layers of a narcotic trance. The chords throughout are simple; which, while not necessarily a detraction in an of itself, highlights areas of possible improvement. Andrew Bird’s recent Break It Yourself provides the perfect counterexample that exemplifies how arrangement of even the simplest chords can be organized in an evermore interesting and intriguing way.

The mixing features Nadler’s vocals rather loudly over the music, again reinforcing Ms. Nadler as the main feature of the record, as opposed to merely letting the ambience take control. Perhaps this is the next step in Nadler’s trajectory, and it’s one that would make sense considering the strides that The Sister makes, but right now we’re left with a notch in her timeline to savor. The Sister is her most entrancing yet; and while that not mean much for fans that adored the more folksy breakouts Songs III: Bird on the Water or Little Hells, but count her recent record as a victory for anyone that wishes to be pulled away from the world for a moment by the songstresses haunting voice. Now that she’s proven that a greater hand in the creativity department doesn’t lead to a crash-and-burn, here’s to hoping that this newfound control of her artistry elicits Ms. Nadler straying further and further down the path she’s chosen for herself on The Sister.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 19th 2012


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review. Her best album yet.

Digging: Necropoli - I

BallsToTheWall
June 19th 2012


44405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fucking sweet.

Digging: She Past Away - Belirdi Gece

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2012


28526 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

3 comments, 3 ratings

willie u should feature this, its still less than a month old

Digging: Chris Brown - X

carouse
June 19th 2012


300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would certainly appreciate that. And, it's good to see that at least a few others here enjoy this as well.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2012


7026 Comments


Just more of the same at this point. She peaked with Little Hells.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

chambered49
June 21st 2012


1727 Comments


great review martin i'll check this out cuz its u :]

boilingboyy
June 22nd 2012


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been following her since Birds:III. She was magical in concert, opening up for Low last year. This album is a nice companian to her self-titled.


MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2012


4507 Comments


Julianna Barwick in the recs...sold.

carouse
June 23rd 2012


300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm jealous, boilingboyy, I bet she puts on a wonderful live show.


Wolfhorde
June 23rd 2012


13458 Comments


Gonna listen later today.

BallsToTheWall
April 23rd 2013


44405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a good album.



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