You walk through a dark corridor made of stone, with doors canvassing the walls. The hall extends in either direction, and both end in minuscule points of light. You consider that they may be endless, but that’s ridiculous right? You open the closest door to you on your right, and you are met with a lush forest. You close it and open the one to your left, revealing impenetrable blackness. You close the door, and an icy voice rings through your mind . . .
Honestly, this record caught me off guard for a number of reasons. This artist carries a potent vision, one that could potentially be off-putting to certain kinds of people (see: squeamish), and she sparsely constructs her music to enhance the vividness of that vision. Natural Born Losers is the newest full-length from Nicole Dollanganger, a singer with a propensity for penning feather-light songs encompassing the grotesque.
Dollanganger’s instrumentation is uncomplicated and vastly effective. Droning, cavernous guitars and the occasional distantly-booming drums underline the singer’s glacial soprano, and create an enormous sense of space for her sharp words to occupy. There’s a lot of death, sex, abuse, and other conceivably controversial topics, but the most captivating element is the icy whisper that vocalizes it all in eerily beautiful detail.
One could make the argument that this record isn’t for everyone, but the reality is that there is a specific time and place for a listening such as this. The compositions are patient, and they progress slowly so each word that Dollanganger speaks is felt to its full intended extent. It may not be the most inviting place to visit, but it’s a gorgeous journey unlike any other. If you’re seeking sparse, potent songwriting, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)