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Marissa Nadler - The Path of the Clouds Music Album Reviews

Marissa Nadler - The Path of the Clouds Music Album Reviews
Inspired by true crime and accompanied by Mary Lattimore, Emma Ruth Rundle, and others, the gothic songwriter’s latest feels newly textured and symphonic.

Before there were true crime podcasts, there were murder ballads. The gothic singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler has long held a fascination with the form, populating her songs with characters who died lonely or unusual deaths. “I’d rather watch crime TV than see you again,” she sang on 2014’s July, a threat she’s now followed through with on her latest album, The Path of the Clouds. Following a move from Boston to Nashville, Nadler experienced writer’s block while locked down in her new home, watching Unsolved Mysteries instead of picking up her guitar. Eventually, she began taking notes, hoping the stories would spark inspiration.

On The Path of The Clouds, Nadler doesn’t parody the true crime form, but she replaces its sensationalism and conservative moralism with narratives of control, following the lineage of country songwriters like Dolly Parton and Patsy Montana. Whether singing about the only known escapees from Alcatraz prison (“Well Sometimes You Just Can’t Stay”) or the disappearance of wilderness explorers Bessie and Glen Hyde (“Bessie Did You Make It?”), Nadler projects both universality and specificity onto these stories, exploring what it means to shapeshift, vanish, and start life anew.

The Path of The Clouds is the first self-produced album in Nadler’s nearly 20-year career. Primarily written on piano—an instrument she learned to play during lockdown—the album doesn’t rely on muscle memory; it’s more purposely and musically constructed, as cerebral as it is intuitive. She enlisted a gothy all-star cast to help build the songs, including former Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde, harpist Mary Lattimore, doomy singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle, and multi-instrumentalist Milky Burgess, who adds a cinematic luster following his contribution to the score for Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic horror film Mandy. Each of the musicians recorded their parts remotely and without much instruction, emailing files back and forth. The album doesn’t suffer from the strewn approach, however, and the sound is newly textured and symphonic.

The music itself coheres to the subject matter. On “Bessie Did You Make It?,” Nadler fingerpicks two chords—one dour, one light—as though depicting the moods of Bessie and Glen Hyde themselves. On the dream-pop track “If I Could Breathe Underwater,” large and marauding waves of guitar shore up against Nadler’s light and flute-like voice, which sounds like a skidding cloud while carrying a heavy and anchoring resonance. Submerged within the mix, Lattimore’s harp glitters like sun-diamonds on waves, bringing the conceit in the song’s title to life.

True to the ballad form, the songs that explicitly reference true crime stories sound fit for oration, more like speech than poetry. While Nadler favors literalism over literary devices—she lifts details like “a bullet in the skull” straight from the stories themselves—she seems to possess a near-classical sensitivity to the sound and shape of words; she’s playful and precise with her assonance, letting each vowel augment and curl over into the next line. The thrills of The Path of the Clouds are far richer than most true crime fiction, but like the best examples of the genre, it leaves you breathless.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Marissa Nadler - The Path of the Clouds Music Album Reviews Marissa Nadler - The Path of the Clouds Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 Rating: 5

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