Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Artist Profile: Clara Engel
Canadian avant garde folk/blues artist Clara Engel combines sparse instrumentation and biting, deeply personal lyrics about love, fear, loss and betrayal to create songs that are the equivalent of an emotional tsunami.
On "Lick My Fins," she channels early PJ Harvey with vocals that are both vulnerable and erotically charged. Starting off with a slow build up of drums and strings, the track fleshes out into a seductive groove, punctuated by tense stab of horns and ghostly harmonies. Engel spins a twisted web of desire with lines like "I want to crawl back to the ocean for you/Lose my limbs and my lungs/My agility of tongue/For you."
"Trembling Dust" takes a less sensual, but no less haunting approach, with Engel bending and twisting certain words to wring all the feeling she can out of them. Singing with a tender, quiet resolve, she tells her lover to "eat the dream from my eye/Eat the kisses from a mouth ravaged/By bitterness and lying." "Accompanied By Dreams" finds her sifting through the ruins of broken promises and abandonment. You said that we would reap/A brilliant harvest from this grief, she sings over a guitar and somber cello. "But it never rained/It's autumn in our veins."
Engel's Madagascar EP is currently out on vinyl. You can download "Lick My Fins" for free below, but other tracks are pay for download. You can hear more at Clara's bandcamp page.