EP review by KevW
The latest EP from Canadian songstress Clara Engel gets the brain working before a note is played. 'The Lovebird's Throat'? Lovebirds: romantic, cosy, cute, happy. Throat: a far less romantic word, one associated with strangulation, choking, slitting. That's not just us being vulgar, surely if the title was meant to be all sunshine and sweetness the much more affectionate word 'neck' would have been used? So you already begin to realise this is an album about contrasts, about the dark and the light, about love gone wrong. Look at the cover; is it a fantastical glowing creature carefully holding the EP's title? Or is it just some downright creepy beast, plucked straight out of a nightmare? It's both and it sums these four songs up beautifully. Engel's voice is made for music like this, capable of carrying the most adorable of love songs yet also with the power to invert the words so they become twisted and dark.
Tender love song 'Not Knowing' shows off her vocal prowess well, but what follows impresses most. How about 'Song For The Sea Witch (Disembody My Voice)' for a Gothic title? Zola Jesus springs to mind and sure enough this is worthy of her work in its haunting mood and lyrics about dancing flames through the heart. 'Married To The Bone' is darker still and more emotive. We're talking genuinely moving songs, the sweetness is gone as Engel proclaims "I'd rather howl at the moon" over ominous, pounding drums, "we are married to the bone, so fucking let's get happy love", it's safe to say that this particular relationship might not be going according to plan. Best is final track, the somewhat ironically titled 'Lovebirds'. Again it's all about that voice, backed with reverberating guitars and disturbing lyrics. "Every time I cut off your head you grow another". Engel does power and emotion remarkably well and this is another stirring EP that's well worth the money, but you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of her vitriol.
Clara Engel's website
Buy the EP
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