Having been active in the L.A. music scene for many years and working with bands like Prissy Whip and Egrets on Ergot has led CrowJane to cross paths with musician/producer Paul Roessler; this association has enabled her to create Mater Dolorosa, an album full of emotional charge as she channels the hardships and trauma of her life into a therapeutic solo project. Looking at the album cover, it looks like a section of film – a woman in all white staring out from the room’s darkness past the window and bars, the title scrawled on the wall beside her. With Mater Dolorosa translating to “sorrowful mother” and mainly used when referencing the Biblical Mary, usually depicted holding her dead son, the title and imagery set the mood and get the listener into the mindset of the album. There is a feeling throughout that seems tied into the primal drum grooves that ring through most of the tracks; combining those with the emotion and tone of CrowJane’s vocals, it is an experience, reminiscent of the minimalistic early Mazzy Star. Standout tracks like the dark piano melody of “Willow” and the psychedelic “Circular Valley” are calmer and almost feel out of place; however, they serve as a break in the rest of the album’s overall intensity, while still showcasing her range and prepping the listener for the ride that comes from tracks like “The Pharmacy” and “Delusion,” the latter probably being the most captivating track as it builds to a scene like a performance in front of a large bonfire. CrowJane also works in an accentuated and distorted cover of James Brown’s classic “Man’s World,” almost channeling Jim Morison in her delivery, while “A Salty Breeze” concludes the album with a mild disorientation of guitar and haunting vocals. Overall, Mater Dolorosa is an interesting album for its avant-garde and primal feel. If one is already a fan of CrowJane’s work or is looking for something new that deviates from the norm, then this would be the album to check out.