There are some albums, some artists, which just click with you the moment you first hear them. You’re not sure exactly what it is, but you can feel all of the way down to your marrow that the music just resonates with you. As if it was made just for you. For me, Lindsay Clark’s Crystalline is certainly one of those albums.
Sounding somewhere between the pastoral folk of Meg Baird and the baroque chill of Judee Sill, Clark’s compositions are nothing short of beautiful. Melancholic melodies are sturdily built around serene acoustic guitar picking or piano and Clark’s wistful, pure vocals. These arrangements are then accompanied by a subtle, yet richly evocative combination of woodwinds and strings. The resulting sound is reminiscent of Sandy Denny, Nick Drake and early Laura Cantrell.
Crystalline lacks any sort of low point, as the entire record is filled with strong standout tracks. For instance, the gentle “Little Dove” is beyond gorgeous. The song begins starkly with Clark’s intricate fingerpicking and potent, but tender voice. Pianos, flute and backup harmony vocals slowly rise in the mix, making the already pleasant song feel as striking as a vibrant autumn sunrise.
Elsewhere on the record, chamber folk-like shades of Catherine Howe are evoked on “Grow” and “Burnt Orange,” and the acoustic guitar prowess in songs like “Torch” and “Wildflowers” brings to mind the work of British folk legends like Bert Jansch and Michael Chapman. Yet if you pay attention to these comparisons alone, it would truly do Clark a major disservice.
While Clark’s style and sound may have many roots in a deep well of excellent influences, she takes these familiar sounds and completely makes them her own. Her powerful lyrics combined with her songs’ deeply intimate arrangements and production style help to make every track here feel as though they are individual bits of Clark’s soul in audio-form. How many records can you truly say that about?
Crystalline is a showcase of true artistic brilliance from start to finish. Fans of deeply talented singer-songwriters should flock to Clark like moths to a flame and give her and this release the upmost praise and attention that they deserve.
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