Introduced with the release of single “Dead City Emily,” July is the sixth studio album by Bostonian singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler. Already well known in the indie music world for her voice, one that is appropriate both for that mysterious girl at open mic night and a well-loved church soloist, it is really just another showcase of her many talents, presented through the vision of a pair of forlorn eyes.

At its core, the LP’s layout is pretty basic. Wistful pianos and guitars set a dark mood, and the simple yet sometimes layered instrumentation switches on a dime from befitting a lullaby to a miniature orchestral arrangement. Each song is quiet in a way that makes the listener afraid to make accidental noise for fear of interrupting, as if they are there in the dark, smoky ballroom where this kind of music lived at one time. Then again, at the same time, an album full of downers can become heavy on the heart quickly, leaving one searching for respite from the barrage of emotions.

This is one such record that needs a very particular setting, one as delicate as its composition, to be appreciated. It’s plainly not fit for many music-listening moments, like a highway cruise or a hangout with friends. Solitude and low light are musts, and songs like these can definitely elicit the strongest responses from someone going through some sort of grief.

July is by no means bad. It is crafted much like a fine alcoholic beverage, where meaningful lyrics meet expert instrumentation to create something truly wonderful, but it may not be easy to digest in the wrong situation.

In A Word: Dense

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