Marissa Nadler is performing live at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard on Tuesday, 5th March. Concert details and ticket information is available here.
“119,657 and the engine blew. 119,657 and I thought of you.” This is the chorus from the excellent last song, “Said Goodbye to that Car,” from Marissa Nadler‘s latest album, For My Crimes. The lovely and mournful track carries the torch of melancholy songs written about automobiles in the tradition of “Ol’ 55” by Tom Waits and “Long May You Run” by Neil Young. It’s the perfect closing to Nadler’s new record, a concise thirty-five minutes of haunting folk brilliance.
For My Crimes is the eighth proper studio album by Marissa Nadler and it is her third on Bella Union (UK) and Sacred Bones (US). From the first notes of the self-titled lead track, it is unmistakably a Marissa Nadler record. Her guitar playing and voice are too unique to be otherwise confused. Admittedly, the last three records all sound quite similar to each other in both arrangement and production, but this is of no consequence because For My Crimes is classic Nadler from start to finish. Longtime fans will instantly fall for her newest effort, but those looking for an evolution in her sound will not find it here. She relies mainly on her acoustic guitar and voice with only minimal accompaniment. However, the spare tracks on this disc, just like on her other releases, contain a beautiful, almost Leonard Cohen-like quality. The reverb-heavy, ghostly arrangements are part of what one comes to expect from Nadler.
Lyrically, there is a pervasive sense of guilt and regret that flows through the album. Songs such as “I Can’t Listen to Gene Clark Anymore” and “All Out of Catastrophes” see Nadler in blue reflection on deteriorated relationships. For My Crimes is a beautiful and despondent album that is cohesive in both theme and sound. Her brokenhearted vocals on “Are You Really Going to Move to the South?” are truly astonishing and they exemplify the fact that Nadler is a true songwriter and artist, in her own time, light years away from the pop charts.
Her concert at The Sunset Tavern on Tuesday should be an intimate affair and is highly recommended.