sat 18/01/2020

CD: Cross Record - Cross Record | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cross Record - Cross Record

CD: Cross Record - Cross Record

US singer-songwriter Emily Cross's latest is downtempo, dreamy and dirgey but occasionally beautiful

Rowing into the light

It’s not every artist who performs “living funerals” along the way as she tours. Then again, American singer Emily Cross is far from the average rocker. Cross Record was previously Cross and her husband Dan Duszynski, who were also both in the slowcore indie “supergroup” Loma. However, this third Cross Record album was made solo, after a move to Mexico following her divorce, also alongside newfound sobriety. It is a more direct, thoughtful creature than its predecessors, yet musically even more floaty and spectral.

The default setting for the album is hazy tone music speckled with twinkling slivers of electronic melody. The latter maintain the interest and stop things becoming terminally lethargic. Atop everything is Cross’s voice, airy, whispery, meditative, slowly singing her lyrics like a liturgy. In fact, there’s something ecclesiastical about the feel of the music with the lovely “Sing the Song” almost emanating the ambiance of a psalm in its series of (sometimes slightly morose!) statements about existence (“Have a child/Throw dreams away”).

It’s clearly not music for every mood. The ghostly opening “What Is Your Wish?” is almost horror filmic in its spooked stylings while “Face Smashed, Drooling” is a gloomy paean to the loss of booze (“The poison, how it tastes like the setting sun”). Elsewhere a newfound confidence bleeds through the haziness, as on “Y/o Dragon” which seems to be about stepping forward feeling more empowered.

Cross Record’s latest doesn’t welcome the listener in with open arms. It’s one that’s quite happy to be in the background unless tuned into, music that seems to come from a dream-space, spiked with slivers of bliss and, happily, the ability to write a tune. As for the “living funerals”, those are because she’s a “death doula”, a kind of end-of-life companion. The idea fits with her music, which is hardly bouncing with life, yet has its own depth, beauty and reward.

Below: Watch the video for "I Relase You" by Cross Record

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