Singer-songwriter Jolie Holland is an enchanting artist who is not afraid to break the mold by delivering a soulful musical approach that embodies a dark yet trembling sound. Incorporating elements of old-fashioned jazz and blues with a gritty rock ‘n’ roll persona, Holland’s latest effort, Wine Dark Sea, is a raw and energetic release that mainly centers on these classic influences while embracing a refurbished tone to spice up the spontaneity of her style.
Presented immediately within the desolate articulation of “On And On” and “Dark Days,” we are introduced to a traditional vibe from Holland’s musicianship that is gracefully heightened through eccentrically fuzzed-out guitar riffs. These tracks at times truly capture the descending spirit of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat.
While Holland’s angelic harmony complements the wondrous and atmospheric nature of this full-length, what truly makes Wine Dark Sea stand out is the way each transitioning song alternates from droning tunes to soft-spoken blues rock anthems that convey honesty and gripping emotional intensity throughout.
From the overwhelming anxiety she expresses through the dreary background undertone presented in “I Thought It Was The Moon” to the contrasting joy that glimmers from solemn and colorful ballads like “The Love You Save” and “All The Love,” Holland throws at you unpredictable melody shifts that reflect her vigorous sense of serenity she embraces on this record.
For listeners who are willing to find comfort from the deepest realms of their own isolation, Wine Dark Sea is an album that will brutally pierce through your heart and guide you to comforting peace at the same time. Holland’s sincere writing on Wine Dark Sea truly intrigues you with a series of songs that are structured with a classic backbone that is crutched with exquisite passion.
In A Word: Soulful