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Recorded on an 18-acre ranch in rural Texas, the sun-scorched desert and a lingering sense of the Great Outdoors loom large on ‘Wabi-Sabi’, the second album from Emily Cross and husband Dan Duszynski. But those aren’t the only themes that connect this record with nature; tracks ebb and flow with the dark, brooding intensity of a thunderstorm, while others pass with the softness and light of April showers.

The assurance and polish that runs through the whole record stems in part from Duszynski’s decade-plus experience as a studio rat, but Cross herself is key; drawing on Alison Mosshart’s howls and Sharon van Etten’s raw emotion, her voice shines like a beacon through the gloom, winding its way past drones and sharp guitar lines.

There’s a cinematic quality at play here too – from the horn blasts of opener ‘The Curtains’ to the sludge-y guitars of ‘Wasp In A Jar’, you can imagine most of these songs soundtracking moments of widescreen drama. Best of all is ‘Hi Rise’, a lumbering giant where acoustic strumming gives way to thundering drums and a piercing, incessant squall of guitar. It meanders back and forth, inviting you to get lost in its twists and turns for hours. And that’s what makes ‘Wabi-Sabi’ so special; let it wash over you, and the smoky atmospherics hook you deep in the mind and the soul.

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