Exposé Online banner

Marissa Nadler — Ballads of Living and Dying
(Eclipse ECL-036, 2004, CD)

Marissa Nadler — The Saga of Mayflower May
(Eclipse ECL-044, 2005, CD)

by Cesar Montesano, Published 2006-05-01

Ballads of Living and Dying Cover artThe Saga of Mayflower May Cover art

The voice is crystalline and exhilaratingly haunting, a crisp and refreshing elixir. Her muse is resolute, hewn from emotion, fashioned from a steadfast rock that never falters. Melancholy is a vehicle. In this case, it carries hallmarks of hopeful redemption. Languid and endearing, she is one of the unsung heroes of the decade to come; Marissa brings solace from the hollows directly beneath the human shell. Ms. Nadler's communiqué takes a classic foray into the world of early folk-rockers. In traditional troubadour fashion, her art is a conduit for soulfulness. Casting her lot directly and honestly may even serve as some form of cathartic transfiguration. This careful songsmithing seeks to escape the confines of an internal world. More so than many, expression is a necessity for her – these songs must be sung.

She carries herself humbly, subdued in manner. When I saw her perform and we conversed a bit afterwards, I found Marissa's countenance to be quite genteel. Her energy carries a touch of similarly understated Nick Drake-ian proportions. Much of her dialectic traces the road of Vashti Bunyan in forlorn spirit, although not as seemingly innocent nor with that form of figurative lyricism. She is also a mite sadder. Her style meshes together elements of Joni Mitchell, Bert Jansch, Judy Collins, Jackson C. Frank, and Sandy Denny. Her acoustic guitar rides alongside, an understanding steed, stepping tunefully in tandem with empirical empathy. The playing is excellent and periodically accompanied by organ. Whenever her voice is double-tracked, a maudlin specter overtakes the atmosphere. Wistful diaphanous gauze sheets lull you into her swirling power.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2004 releases, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Marissa Nadler

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Expo '70 - Black Ohms – To make this review the written equivalent of Expo ‘70’s work, I suppose I should just pick a word and repeat it over over over over. I just need to tell the reader to say it with a slightly...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues