SILHOUETTE OF SIRENS
Red House Records
Soul Baring at It’s Rawest and Most Eloquent.
This has been a very difficult album to review as it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting or wanting from one of my favourite singer-songwriters. Her previous album Back Road Highways turned my world upside down and sent me to three different cities to see her play live the following year and also buy her three hard to find previous offerings.
Whereas that album was easily accessible with songs and stories that painted beautiful imaginative pictures; this on the other hand is vary dark and the singer sounds very tightly wrapped and even pained on every track.
The scene is set with the first song Drive Slow, an intensely honest song where she questions her life now and past, in such a way she sounds like she could cry at any moment.
Every song here sounds like Chastity has had to haul the words up from the dark recesses of her heart and as her beautiful voice frees them, she’s still not sure they may be for public consumption.
With that in mind Lies, How Could I forget and the sublime Lost all sound so personal the listener is left feeling privileged to be let into that part of her life.
As you’d expect this isn’t an album with any obvious ‘single for radio’ potential; it’s an album in the old sense of the medium; but two songs really do stand out.
Pouring Rain caught my attention the first time I heard it; taking my breath away the way Chastity sexily challenges her lover to “Miss me when I’m gone/Kiss me when I go/I’m learning the hard way” but it appears that the love may be ‘one way’ and sadly unrequited; a scenario most have us have been in at one time or another but never been able to put as eloquently as Ms Brown does. Oh….it’s a bit of a Rocker too. On Wake Up the drumbeat throughout sounds like a pumping heart; and that’s just perfect for the way Chastity combines her honesty and intensity with a damn fine melody to create a multi-layered ‘plea’ of a love song that defies the laws of gravity as it floats through the ether.
The other, Carried Away opens with some twisted guitar playing followed by a piano and an angry singer giving a gut wrenching performance on a very dark love song; about the end of a troubled relationship. 10/10.
Personally I don’t like to know too much about an artist’s home life; as I like the music to do the talking and ‘speak to me and me alone’; but in this case Chastity Brown’s childhood, race and especially her sexuality have all combined one way or another to create these brooding vignettes from her own memories (and some that are re-imagined) and for once, knowing that makes the songs all make perfect sense. This isn’t some whiny singer-songwriter feeling sorry for herself; this is a Master Craftswoman using her own experiences to help others come to terms with similar issues in their own lives.
Released May 19th 2017