Hermitess

Hermitess

Independent release, 2017

http://www.hermitess.band

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/15/2018

Hermitess is the solo project of songwriter and harpist Jennifer Crighton, who you might know as a player in the Canadian alt-pop outfit The Consonant C as well as psych rockers Devonian Gardens. Crighton reportedly holed herself up in a cabin in northern Michigan to pen these nature-esque and haunting tunes, all of which will appeal to fans of the atypical side of indie rock. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Songs like the opener “Animal Heart” exemplify very well what Hermitess is all about – organic, introspective music with high pitched, angelic singing that's both chilling and gorgeous. Other songs like the fuller, orchestral “Black Lake” are closer to indie folk, and “Blood Moon” is an eerie, vocal heavy highpoint with the sort of musicianship that suits the cover art well, i.e. adventurous yet stark and echoing with loneliness.

The middle of the album offers the brighter and fleeting “Setting Bones” before the light strings, subtle  percussion, and hypnotic “The Guest.” “Hush” is where things take a drastic turn into a distortion filled alt-rock meets harp hybrid that offers another dimension to Crighton's songwriting that really deserves to be explored further.

The album gets even more exploratory towards the end with cracking of fire sounds and almost religious ebullience of “Obsidian Stairs,” which flows into the mesmerizing plucking of the soft and lovely “Tender.” The listen exits on the spacey backdrop to the otherwise very earthy, elegant, twinkling folk of “Vampires.”

A very difficult effort to put any label on, Hermitess is somewhere between indie pop, rich folk music, and New Age meets psych rock sensibilities. Crighton's expression of isolation with tense, graceful beauty where cellos, synth, and perhaps most importantly, the Witch Choir, all meet, make this an album that borders on creative genius. The vinyl version is a great package, but for those of you back on the cassette format, you have that option, too.

Rating: A-

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