Claire Cronin makes music that provides the kind of backdrop for bars littered with lonely, broken-hearted idlers. Cronin’s voice always feels close, but not visible. Like hearing a whisper through thick blankets of fog.
“Those who persevere will be destroyed/And I’m not the destroyer in this story,” sings Cronin on Now I Don’t Leave. It’s one of the many dark, heavy themes that the Los Angeles-based songwriter continues to explore on Bloodless – her follow-up to 2019’s Big Dread Moon.
With assistance from her husband and violist, Ezra Buchla, Cronin doesn’t let up with the trepidation on Bloodless – a subliminal journey where she once again delivers a string of cold-eyed laments that emit the aroma of death.
“Must be strange not to see light and air,” sings Cronin on the electric, twang-y folk opener, continuing the metaphysical themes explored on Big Dread Moon.
The skeletal blues number, Through the Walls, rumbles with a rustic drone that sees Cronin moving into new cinematic landscapes; later this continues with the beautiful To Ferry Across and Not A Noise.
With Feel This and Snakes for Angels, Cronin conjures up an atmosphere tailor-made for abandoned dwellings in far forgotten places. Etched in loneliness, sonically these songs aren’t a world away from what Low produced during their humble beginnings.
“Seeking omens about dying, but you go on,” sings Cronin on album highlight, No Forcefield. Taking centre stage during this sorrowful folk number, it’s one designed for church sermons and Cronin delivers her message emphatically.
Carefully plotted both lyrically and sonically, not a moment is wasted throughout this journey, as Cronin garners maximum results from places where most others don’t dare to explore. It’s what sets Cronin apart from the rest of the haunted souls and ragged troubadours in this realm.
Lyrically haunting, sonically gaunt and beautifully cinematic, Bloodless is the kind of record that cuts straight through the bone.
Bloodless is out now via Orindal Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.