A master of creating rich dreamscape atmospheres, Nadler's voice shines and glides even more with a full band accompanying her. Produced by Chris Coady, the starry musical guests include longtime collaborator Myles Baer, Simone Pace (Blonde Redhead), and Dave Scher (Farmer Dave). Few contemporary artists can match the stunning ride of Marissa's reverb vocals that are a journey into themselves on every rose tinged track. Little Hells displays a brighter leap in musical maturity and attention to detail, as the fantasmagoric sounds delve into melancholy nuggets, sometimes erotic, sometimes gutting, but filled with a gorgeous sense of serene hope more so than previous album, Songs III: Bird on the Water.
The core of Little Hells-- Marissa Nadler's elegiac and elegant fourth album-- is appropriately wedged in the middle: After moving alongside dual Wurlitzers and a theremin throughout opener "Heart Paper Lover", slowly waltzing above a country quartet on "Rosary", and augmenting a dark conversation between a man and his tired wife with industrial-iike programming and synths for "Mary Come Alive", Nadler settles back into her minimal roots for the next four tunes. During those 14 perfect minutes, it's just her voice and finger-picked acoustic guitar, augmented cautiously by piano, organ, and ripples of electronics. Surrounded by little else but her own melancholy, Nadler sums up her career's existential despair: "Ghosts and lovers/ They will haunt you for a while," she sings. And while they do, Little Hells suggests through 10 of Nadler's best songs yet, the sadness will either kill you or keep you going. - Pitchfork5/5
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