sentiment by claire rousay album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions



claire rousay

“Mental blasts of the best parts,” claire rousay repeats on their latest album of auto-tuned, plucked guitar, effect laden drone, and violin songs which came out today on Thrill Jockey Records, called sentiment. Rousay has been on more labels than you can count, a testament to their commitment to the art form and relatable sound and word palette. And the latest album is one of their most confessional and indie yet, featuring such acts as Lala Lala and Hand Habits.

“This is not your problem / This is not your fault / This is just me trying to stay involved,” they sing on the emo robotic third track, “it could be anything.” The auto tune is a character all its own on this album, and the tracks don’t steer far from each other throughout the record, though the moodiness is something perfectly fit for a movie soundtrack.

With diaristic lyrics, rousay makes autobiography out of the queer experience, the search for youthful meaning and connection, and their songs are beautiful as they are honest. “Ima fuck this up anyway.” There are songs about being drunk, having sex, hanging with friends, but mostly, like the cover of the album, ruminations you might have in your bed all alone. “Doubt flows in / I’m not drowning yet / But the rain is coming in / Under the door / You know I don’t give a shit.”

At times, the instrumentals remind me of the softer side of Dirty Three, with their circular guitar parts and scratching violins. While this is an indie album as a whole, it recalls rousay’s other more instrumental music, and they are a master at the atmospheric. You could listen without ever hearing the words, and the feelings that the songs evoke are melancholy and resonant. The best and worst part of the record is its uniformity of sound. Great because of the mood enhancing meditative quality of the music, from start to finish, but less great because it betrays a bit of formulaic writing.

I think, however, that this album is a grower, not a shower. There is a sort of genius to their formula, after all. It takes a bit from the ambient side of music, but is never boring, like ambient music can be sometimes, but always evocative. It is certainly an album to be played and replayed, and will I think be some people’s favorite record of the year.

Order sentiment by claire rousay HERE


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