Chelsea Wolfe – “We Hit a Wall”
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When discussing what makes something heavy, the default mode is to direct one’s attention to what’s the loudest, most dense and massive. But something can be heavy without being overwhelming on a sonic level. Chelsea Wolfe understands this well. On her 2011 album Apokalypsis, she turned atmosphere into a weapon, her distorted, effects-wrapped doom-folk dirges rarely rising above a low rumble (with certain exceptions), but always feeling utterly crushing under the weight of the space they created.
“We Hit A Wall,” released recently as the second of three tracks revealed prior to the release of Wolfe’s new album Pain Is Beauty, is an even more effective display of the heaviness that her songwriting carries. More accessible than any of Apokalypsis‘ tracks, “We Hit A Wall” is like Julee Cruise’s “Falling” produced by Stephen O’Malley, or the moment that Swans finally decide to write a hit single. It’s eerie and evocative, even a little romantic in a doomed sort of way, but it also sounds enormous and ominous. Wolfe’s voice, less obscured and filtered than its been in the past, carries an emotional weight about it as well, bolstering the percussive pounding and gothic, minor-key melody with a humanity that doesn’t undercut the restrained ferocity of the track — it reinforces it.[found on Pain Is Beauty; out Sept. 3 via Sargent House]
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.