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Joanna Newsom
Divers
Drag City

If CocoRosie was the Wicked Witch of the West, Joanna Newsom would be Glinda. Their voices resemble a shrill rawness that regular people can only achieve by wringing out our vocal chords. If you are wondering what that sounds like (so you can decide if you want to rip out your throat), listen to the last lines of “Sapokanikan.” Newsom’s eloquent harp playing sets her apart from the obscure sound of CocoRosie. Simple piano and flute melodies harmonize with Newsom’s telling vocals, exemplifying a story-like element and a sense of personal journey. Heartache resonates in “Time, As a Symptom” as Newsom communicates her endless battle with time’s forward motion. “You Will Not Take My Heart Alive” beautifully showcases her harp playing in a passionate rage. Divers successfully encapsulates baroque-pop (classical meets indie/rock) with folk, while entering a multitude of emotional stages, giving the album a truly honest and original sound. That being said, Newsom’s vocals are an acquired taste.

– Elyse Mathes

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