Joanne Robertson
Black Moon Days


3.5
great

Review

by Tristan Jones EMERITUS
March 2nd, 2015 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: across a crowded room

Black Moon Days, the sophomore release from British folk artist Joanne Robertson, wasn’t made for us. I’d describe it as a calm purge, as though this one’s for her, but we’re welcome to observe at our leisure. Impromptu in delivery, it feels like something that couldn't be replicated to the same effect. The lyrics lend their hand to this, as while they aren’t necessarily useless - God, no - their impact is fleeting, and only the occasional snippets resonate. Robertson’s words could be heart-wrenching references to love, or innocent mumblings; it doesn’t really matter, though, and her ability to utilize soothing timbre with jarring devotion is sublime. I don’t mean that to belittle the subject matter - something is fuelling her craft - but I suspect she is content to leave me in the dark a little. Opener “Wave” begins with: ”hangin’ in the same places / that I knew back when I was yours," and continues hinting at feelings of remorse; but, Robertson is guarded. Just as I’m about to test the waters, she retreats like the passing tide, and I’m left fumbling, mouth agape.

Despite a gritty demeanour, barebones instrumentation, and vocals that dip in and out of focus, Joanne's singing is entrancing. Black Moon Days feels stagnant among initial listens, as it’s easy to hone in on the dominant traits: candid, lo-fi production, raw guitar work, and her wavering voice, with few exceptions (frequent collaborator Dean Blunt’s presence on “Hi Watt” comes to mind). That said, various underpinning moods rise to the surface. “Secret” has a tinge of hostility, as though Robertson is trojan-horsing her target with guilt. Even the chord progression feels apprehensive, forgoing the feathery-soft picking on tracks like “Grams”, opting for chunky strumming, but without sacrificing her beautiful vocals. Once acclimatized to her unrefined delivery, little subtleties prove all the more enriching, like the sub-melodies strewn about songs like “Drops” or the titular “Black Moon Days” (a vocal highlight). Vocal hooks are unassuming here, and don’t necessarily grab the listener from the get-go, but plant themselves furtively.

The brashest moment on the album is the eyebrow-raising closer, “Bricklin”, a track seemingly tacked on, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst the guitar-driven affair. "Bricklin" is loud, childish, abrasive, nonsensical, and bound to cause a scowl or two. Despite this, the track is sculpted with nuance. It’s as if Robertson has grown bashful in her exposure, and resorted to lightening the mood with an outburst: a fun, innocent catharsis, splashing a blotch of paint on her self-portrait. In a way, it changes how the album should be viewed on repeated listens, like a playful movie twist. What felt like a somber confessional is now laced with wry wit, as if I’ve been toyed with, having delved into emotional territory that was never really intended for me. The artificiality of “Bricklin” - the loud, ugly drums and incoherent shouts - is a coping mechanism, and perhaps the realest moment on the album. It singlehandedly validates Robertson’s motives, as it renders her truly vulnerable, allowing for empathy to soak in. Black Moon Days isn't perfect, but it's beautiful in its flaws, and all the more endearing for it.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some tracks streaming here https://soundcloud.com/joanne-robertson

album can be purchased here http://feedingtuberecords.com/releases/black-moon-days/

thx EO for the proofread

420Itchy69
March 2nd 2015


216 Comments


Realy great album!

ExplosiveOranges
March 2nd 2015


4408 Comments


Looks good, man. Might check this out.

YakNips
March 2nd 2015


19969 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

went to pos but forgot

Asdfp277
March 2nd 2015


22620 Comments


wait this is the chick that sings in that dean blunt song or?

edit: nvm

ComeToDaddy
March 2nd 2015


1820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review is wonderful man, great work. Really eager to check this out after reading it.



Phlegm
March 2nd 2015


7247 Comments


absolute stunner of an album, glad to see it got a review T

Phlegm
March 2nd 2015


7247 Comments


a fun, innocent catharsis, splashing a blotch of paint on her self-portrait.

yess

ShadowRemains
March 2nd 2015


25302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sounds good

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2015


11774 Comments


Beautiful review Johnny

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks guys, and cheers for the catch, Daddy

cryptside
March 2nd 2015


2399 Comments


You can write about any genre, it seems. Great review, man. One minor nitpick:

"Impromptu in delivery, it feels like something irreproducible."
-I know what you're saying here, but 'irreproducible' may not be the best way to phrase it. I believe you're trying to impress upon the reader that it's not something that could easily be caught on record again, but there could be a better way to say it.

Just my two cents though, and the review is excellent on the whole.

Phlegm
March 2nd 2015


7247 Comments


everyone listen to this

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@crypt - made a slight change, hope it helps

cryptside
March 2nd 2015


2399 Comments


Edit: fixed

Amazing job, man. Reads even better, really like the changes.

Crysis
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


17476 Comments


Man, I just love your writing style. It's eloquent without being verbose, personal without giving us an entire soliloquy, and involved without feeling over-saturated. Just plain easy to read while also being hugely descriptive. Nothing grammar wise jumps out as incorrect to me aside from my uncertainty as to whether "guitar-work" needs the hyphen, but since I'm not 100% sure one way or the other I'll defer.

Keep on keepin' on dude, this is great stuff.

Digging: Paysage d'Hiver - Im Wald

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man, i enjoy the input you give. it's always more thoughtful than just a "good review"



and yeah, i was second-guessing whether or not it needed a hyphen, but w/e

Cygnatti
March 2nd 2015


33279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ugh i really need this. thank fucking god a stream finally showed up. kudos johnny man! :D

Crysis
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


17476 Comments


I might give this a shot despite the fact that this genre is essentially uncharted territory for me

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's worth a shot, man. this definitely needed a couple listens to win me over though, but once it did, boy oh boy



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