Putting some distance between her previous electronic collaborations and her new solo career, VAR – otherwise known as Vanessa Anne Redd – has assembled what can easily stand amongst the best singer-songwriter albums of the year. Her ‘Behind the Wall’ is, in her own words, “a simple grunge-folk affair”, but there’s definitely more to it than that, despite the cute, handmade packaging. With bits of Angel Olsen and PJ Harvey glimmering here and there, the British-German musician has created a brand new contemporary folk, sounding its best in piano ballads like ‘Road that Drives Us’, and in more guitar-driven songs such as ‘Twilight’.

There is brass (‘Proof’) and strings (the title track) reminiscent of some Lennon-McCartney grandeur. ‘Beast’ is then a great folk downtempo track, just as ‘Escape’ reverberates an electric Tarantino mood. Redd’s voice is flawless when it hits the higher notes and almost as good in a deep murmur. Here are ten tracks to perfectly suit a bonfire in the woods (in an un-right-on way), an empty room for one, and in a Nashville club.


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