words by tom johnson
Like the cracked light after a storm, like half-waking from a dream, Kathryn Joseph occupies a different space to others. Across debut album, Bones You Have Thrown Me, and again here, on the lead song from that crushing debut’s follow-up record, she finds a place within the cracks of world, not just for herself but for us too, dragging us in to the shadows alongside her, u place she knows better than most.
Named the Scottish Album Of The Year back in 2015, that aforementioned record finally gets a new sibling this year, with Joseph also announcing that she’s joined the prestigious Rock Action label for its release. Finding new and different ways to grow in the time since, via her ever-impressive live showing alongside multi-instrumentalist and producer Marcus McKay, Joseph has channeled that more experimental side in to her new work, the little flourishes of white noise, of evocative adornments, subtly infused in to her own tender piano playing, that is still the pertinent aspect of her latest work.
Drifting on for a near five-minutes, “Tell My Lover” is a crushing ode to the dark edges of a relationship. “Tell my lover it’s not over until we drown,” Joseph sings on the opening line, that now-familiar but still wildly evocative voice piercing the fog like a spike of bright light, not sunshine but something unnatural; a blast of white heat amid the cold and listless surrounds, withered at the edges. And then comes the change, the track suddenly soaring and boisterously alive, the voice carried high in to the air, wrapped up in a furious swirl of eerie magic and the half-buried fury of love, a bird still able to fly despite its broken wings, so unnatural you can’t take your eyes off it, not even for a second. And so we stare and stare and follow it, wherever it takes us.