According to her press release, Marissa Nadler's eighth album is "the sound of turmoil giving way to truth". With a lesser artist, this might be dismissed as hyperbole but it is actually as succinct a summary as you're likely to find.
Co-produced with Lawrence Rothman and Justin Raisen in Laurel Canyon, it is another set of unflinchingly honest songs as well as being a statement of womanhood with contributions from singers Sharon van Etten, Kristin Control (of Dum Dum Girls) and Angel Olsen plus three other female musicians.
In a recent interview with Quietus, Nadler says "I've always been drawn to the dark side of things"; a statement that will hardly comes as a revelation to anyone who has followed her career.
Yet one noteworthy change is that, while death, drama and despair always seemed like a burden on her earlier records, she is now relaxed enough to draw some black humour from these recurring themes. On All Of Our Catastrophes she sings "You said I lived for tragedy, so I threw the keys at your head" and another track has the wonderfully ironic title You're Only Harmless When You Sleep.
The title track sets a characteristically bleak tone as she puts herself in the place of a convicted criminal on death row. While confessing to having "done terrible things" she pleads "Please, don't remember me for my crimes" which begs the question: 'How then should she be remembered?'
Atmospheric string arrangements and simple acoustic guitar form the backdrop to most of the tracks. One exception is the meditative Blue Vapour where electric guitar strumming creates a hypnotic effect. This is emphasized by the repetition of the title around fifty times.
Her individual take on break up songs is reflected in songs like I Can't Listen To Gene Clark Anymore and Lover Release Me and the closing narrative song Said Goodbye To The Car affirms that she is all to familiar with the emotions that come with farewells.
Gillian Welch once sang that Some girls are bright in the morning and some are blessed with a dark turn of mind" and Nadler is without doubt one of the latter. This is even reflected in the abstract artwork of one her own oil paintings that is used for the cover art.
For this reason she is never going to make a happy-go-lucky albums but her confidence as a songwriter makes this latest release the sound of an artist keenly aware of her strengths and playing to them.
Marissa Nadler's website