Emily Jane White – They Moved in Shadow All Together
One of the darkest and most foreboding albums of the year, the touching sorrow of Shadow is a demanding yet rewarding listen. Imagine yourself in a forgotten and overgrown gothic garden, thinly veiled in mist; this would be your soundtrack. This is a collection of music for somber reflection, made for days when you feel like leaves wilting before an ever encroaching winter. The saddest music is often the most beautiful and this is no exception. The album is awash with mellow guitar work, flowing piano and subtle orchestration, all permeated with White’s elegant and angelic vocals. Tracks like the stunning standout ‘Nightmares on Repeat’ make Shadow feel addictively heartbreaking.
This is not an album of sadness purely for sadness’ sake, contain within are stories of personal trauma and wide ranging tragedies and inequality that effect our entire culture. ‘The Black Dove’ is an ode to America’s struggles against racism whilst ‘Womankind’ deals with violence against women. Sadly this album’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest weakness. Whilst the ever present gloom is all too easy to get lost in, it’s not something you would rush back to listen to. You certainly need to be in the right mood to truly appreciate the many melancholy subtleties of Shadow, but when that time comes it really feels like an enriching experience.