by Philip Moss
The Louisiana artist’s self declared collection of ‘dream folk’ is a debut record ready made for blocking out the world
In his interview with us for Zine 8, Buck Meek, told of how his love for storytelling came from sitting on his grandfather’s knee as a child. And like her label mate, Renée Reed’s debut is like a collection of emotive hand me downs that just had to be combined with melody.
But there is a strangeness that hangs over the collection – in that is it is a series of beautiful songs that were informed by the worst of times, and the allusions to her yearning for escape, and a learned bitterness (‘I could be daydreaming – deep in the corner I tell all your secrets out loud’) on Out Loud are just two examples of the challenges Reed faced when writing the LP. Ironically, though, it is a joy to spend time with. A record made for headphones. A record so special that it feels as if it should be kept secret, but that you also can’t wait to tell anyone who will listen about its existence.
Your Seventh Moon is timeless; a song that could only have been written on a typewriter – with every punch of the keys transferring all the hurt, pain and passion wrapped up in its genesis. What appears on the paper, fully formed, is beautiful verse. Beautiful, ink smeared words. Where the blots are as important in a literal sense as they are metaphorically. Words that stand alone as poetry – ‘fell off the wire like I’ve never done before / human design can fold in a ball’ – that trace her attempts to find balance when she was spinning out of control, and the involuntary defence mechanisms kicked in.
Jessica Pratt’s Quiet Signs is perhaps the most obvious, comparative reference point, and the LA based songwriter comes to mind at various points – most prominently through the vocal stylings of I Saw a Ghost. But Reed’s voice, for the most part, is double tracked, which brings a warm eeriness that harks back to the song’s origins and her four track, cassette experimentations – and with that comes a deviation from straight folk into a more magical, spirited place.
Born from the worst of times, Reed has delivered a body of work that – by logic – shouldn’t be possible when you learn that the twelve tracks here are pulled from the first fifteen she has ever written. An album to get lost in. An album that awaits you with its arms open. An album that had to be, and could only be, self titled.
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