On ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ Leonard Cohen sings as if writing a letter, ending the song with a doleful, “sincerely, L. Cohen”. I can imagine Marissa Nadler being the kind of girl Cohen would write to (I see it being early in the morning somewhere incandescent in New York, or perhaps, more realistically, a Tibetan retreat).
Like Cohen, Nadler is a serial polymath, yet self-aware enough to address this in her music. “So have you heard I’m a dancer now...so have you heard I’m a painter now?” begins ‘Diamond Heart’, a track rippling with a melancholic sensuality that belies the ghostliness of her voice (imagine a wispier Joan Baez). Again, like Cohen Nadler has betrayed literary inclinations, having previously sung the words of Poe and Neruda; however, on this double a-side there’s a tenderness to the songs that make them seem less flighty and removed than her previous work; ‘Leather Made Shoes’ a woeful love story telling of a girl with “a box of faded feathers and leather made shoes”. There’s something enchanting about Nadler, a voice that seems to be not-quite of this world, singing of failed romances and lost treasures, informing her addressee, “I had a man in every town/but I thought of you every time I tore off my gown”. Melancholic and wistful are the operative words here; Leonard would approve.
8Sam Lewis's Score