In This Year: Ten of Swords
Hand Drawn Dracula
When it comes to a truly great album there are those in which the listener places themselves inside, exploring every aspect of the experience from the themes to its technicalities with conscious thought. Then there are those that work in the exact opposite manner, where the artist has managed to take up residence inside of us and started throwing switches we didn’t even know were there. That’s where Praises falls in with her debut record In This Year: Ten of Swords. The solo project from genre-blending duo Beliefs’ Jesse Crowe, this marks a shift in her artistic methods to face darker topics from a more minimalist approach, containing stripped back elements of the sounds she is known for while incorporating the atmospheric lens of trip-hop and goth in several places.
Underneath a bleak haze of modular synths layered by Crowe’s Beliefs band mate Josh Korody, this album finds her in the center of this dark electronic landscape, many times with just her voice and the piano leading us across the tracks. The result is one of the most gorgeous and sorrowful records to have come out this year, with even the jarring industrial elements that are overlaid on “Prey” containing as much raw power as the lower chords that peak across “Three of Swords,” each note resonating down your spine.
The personal mourning that Crowe works through across the album is the clear highlight here, from repeated lines such as “It’s not your fault” on “Welcome Home” to the accusatory “You’re not anyone’s anyone” from “Anyone’s Anyone.” The lyrics operate much in the same way as the music, being either personal or a projection onto someone else. It all depends on where exactly these songs happen to find the listener, and with such fantastically arranged instrumentation there is not a single emotion that is left untouched.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: PRAISES – IN THIS YEAR: TEN OF SWORDS