chelseawolfeCHELSEA WOLFE – ‘Pain Is Beauty’
The third studio album from Sacramento singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe is a massive departure from her previous offering ‘Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs’. There is a real ethereal quality about the 12 tracks on offer, which begin with the brooding ‘Feral Love’ – an ambient, pulsing beat setting the tone for the rest of an album that has a real mesmerising quality.  Any teen vampire flick worth its salt could do worse than to pick it on its soundtrack. An early high point is ‘We Hit A Wall’, a tormented love story that’s hypnotic in nature; cautiously comparable with Bat For Lashes. The crushing tone is lightened by Chelsea’s sensational voice which really is a thing of twisted beauty.  The trip-hop and layered strings on ‘House of Metal’ blend together with percussion for a perfect 5am come down, and ‘The Warden’ is a synthesised-pop effort of driving electro beats and another haunting vocal. Chelsea moves away from electronica with the distinctly lo-fi ‘Destruction Makes The World Burn Brighter’, while the moody airs surrounding ‘Kings’ and the pounding drums of ‘Reins’ echo PJ Harvey’s darkest moments.  Equally so, on ‘Ancestors, the Ancients’, for those of a rockier persuasion, this is the one to lend an ear to, with rolling drums and a repeated refrain – ‘release your dead’, holy cow is it dark.  ‘Pain is Beauty’ ends on a high with ‘The Waves Have Come’, an intense eight and a half minute ballad that tells a tale of natural disaster and a love lost. Inspired by the Japan tsunami, it’s a cinematic, piano led orchestral epic that’s subtle and devastating in equal measure.  If you were looking for standout singles then this isn’t for you, but as a body of work it’s an intense, atmospheric pleasure. Goth for grown ups.  (8)



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