Feb 2024 29

Album CoverChelsea Wolfe
Album: She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Category: Experimental / Gothic / Industrial
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
Release Date: 2024-02-09
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


Songs about reinventing oneself in the aftermath of a failed relationship or similarly cataclysmic event tend to ride that fine line between a hopeless melancholy and a determination to move on. For her seventh album, Chelsea Wolfe does more than simply sing about it – she’s applied the principle to her very sound, as She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She sees her stepping away from the doom-laden guitar-soaked noise of Hiss Spun or the dark neo-folksiness of Birth of Violence toward a greater infusion of gritty electronics. There’s an almost dichotomous juxtaposition at play throughout the record, with the organic and artificial instrumentation often creating a haunted, even oppressive backdrop for Wolfe’s intimate and vulnerable songwriting, her voice often shifting from wistful melodiousness to an exhausted collapse of emotion.

This is immediately apparent on the opening “Whispers in the Echo Chamber” as she sings lines like “The World was not designed for us” and “I had to swallow them before they swallowed me” resonating atop broken rhythms and throbbing layers of synth and bass, or in the dreamy and droning “Eyes Like Nightshade,” its metallic and electronic loops giving rise to plucky synths akin to a demented cabaret; as she sings “Stay close to me” with a combination of desperation and menace, the snares strike like whiplash before the track disintegrates and malfunctions into the ether. “House of Self-Undoing” presents Wolfe addressing sobriety and once again finding joy in life as an almost danceable array of break-like beats, the rolls of distorted bass evoking the trippy audio noir of Portishead before erupting into a post-hardcore brume similar to Greg Puciato or King Yosef, while “Unseen World” is almost cinematic in its expansive and ethereal ambience, aided by Wolfe’s hums and skitters of background effects that seem to elicit the song’s title. Other songs like “Everything Turns Blue,” “Salt,” “The Liminal,” and especially “Place in the Sun” present a smoky jazzlike atmosphere with mangled piano and keyboard passages offset by howled pads atop grimy and glitchy electronics that along with the lamenting vocals – Wolfe often harmonizing with eerie fervor – yearning for a time and place that never was, the noisy crescendos providing realization and relief.

As one would expect given Wolfe’s pedigree, every track on She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She is meticulously orchestrated to ensnare the listener into a complex web of emotions – crushed by the weight of a broken heart, but bestowed with a hopeful willingness to let it all happen again… and maybe it will be different the next time. Through all of the miasmal production of post-industrial and harshly electronic sound, Chelsea Wolfe is still baring her heart and soul, inviting us to share in her distress and embrace…nay, create our own shards of light.
Track list:

  1. Whispers in the Echo Chamber
  2. House of Self-Undoing
  3. Everything Turns Blue
  4. Tunnel Lights
  5. The Liminal
  6. Eyes Like Nightshade
  7. Salt
  8. Unseen World
  9. Place in the Sun
  10. Dusk

Chelsea Wolfe
Website, Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram
Loma Vista Recordings
Website, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram

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