Marissa Nadler, 'Little Hells' (Kemado)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

On this Massachusetts songstress' fourth full-length, hell isn't an afterlife; it's life lived in the grip of loss. With her luxuriant, Renaissance faire soprano, Nadler sketches out the ways that a bright past can fade to a torturous present haunted by "ghosts and lovers." Even percussive standouts such as "River of Dirt" wallow. Maybe listeners trapped in the depths of mourning or an exceedingly bad breakup might find hypnotic comfort here; others will likely admire the pretty vocals, fingerpicked guitar, and spectral atmosphere -- then crave songs just a little more eventful.

Listen: "River of Dirt" (DOWNLOAD MP3)

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