While the vast majority of England’s folk-pop exports cajole around in sunny wheat fields, wearing the latest Victorian peasant attire and melting down their Grammy awards into soles for their leather brogues, British songstress Marika Hackman is carefully, quietly spinning stories of love, death, and mutilation.
Although her cloppy, quirky instrumental arrangements and honeyed, Nico-esque coo stir up a sense of intimacy and comfort, Hackman is essentially the musical equivalent of a Grimm fairy tale villain: enticing us with understated hooks and softly-stirred rhythms, painting images of pupils “as deep as wells” and “black as crows,” and lulling us into a bemused calm, one so soothing that it can be easy to overlook the heavy dread hanging over a song as beautiful as “Retina Eyes.”
I wish I had that attention to dynamics at the microscopic level when I was 19. Hackman’s highly-anticipated “mini-album,” That Iron Taste, comes out February 25 on Dirty Hit Records. Joanna Newsom, you’ve got yourself some competition.