by Joseph Purcell
Cold House Burning, the sophomore record from Montreal’s Camille Delean, is an intensely personal, turbulent voyage through emotional turmoil, brought on by illness, and the gripping torment of solitude.
The intimacy of Delean’s writing gives the feeling that you have stepped into her personal sanctum – none more evident than on the aptly titled Afraid of People. But each track on Cold House Burning feels distinct. There is an uplift on the acoustic warmth of Birthday, yet the majestic Saturn Gravity is dense and haunting. It is on Medicine Morning, though, that Delean’s work comes together in perfect harmony. The sombre backdrop weaves an imaginary expedition into darkness. Delean’s ethereal vocal works in spellbinding fashion, as she muses, ‘It’s gonna be a fight all day, I’m almost delighted.’
While Cold House Burning is mostly sombre in tone, the songs do not merely wallow. Delean treads the line between haunting vocal and humorous annotations expertly. As songs teeter on the overpowering, she hauls them back into the light – and snaps of sunlight and hope creep though in flashes of joyful rhythm and melody. Her message is clear, and in current times relatable – however dark and difficult, you must nevertheless keep trying. This concept is non more evident than on the delightful lead single, (Fault Line) Late July. Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara’s drums pulse underneath her hazy vocals on a composition that recalls the collaborations between PJ Harvey and John Parish.
Cold House Burning is a step through the raw fear of life – a catalogue of songs that detail the challenges of the human existence, and a test of the wisdom and skills acquired to negotiate our biggest hurdles. All crafted exquisitely by a uniquely gifted artist.
Secret Meeting score: 80