Artist: Clara Engel
Album: A New Skin
Release Date: 21/12/2020
Let’s take a look at Clara Engel‘s latest full-length offering A New Skin, which was independently released on December 21st.
Clara hails from Toronto, Ontario and plays a wide variety of different genres. On this latest offering we get a blend of avant blues and experimental folk. The album takes a minimalistic tone, stripping things down to barebones as far as instrumental elements, only featuring cigar box guitar, electric guitar, melodica, and harmonica. First mastering by Mitchell Girio at the Slow Cooker and final mastering by Scott Gray at Trinket Trance.
There is a haunting beauty to this album that really helps it stand out from other music within the same style. I genuinely believe that the simplicity of it all allows each individual element to truly shine. Every element that is introduced on each track is taken notice of and has an importance to it. Nothing seems to be there just for the sake of it, everything is well planned, well played and well timed. There’s a sort of ethereal atmosphere to the whole album, which is an impressive achievement when using such basic instruments.
Personally, I think that the cigar box guitar gives the album a really unique tone that you don’t hear all that often. It is an interesting use of an interesting instrument, and personally I don’t think I’ve heard it played quite like this before. The melodica is another unusual instrument that you do not see too often, which also has a very distinctive sound to it. The lyrics on the album are extremely well written, reading like poetry. There is actually a reason for that, as Clara cites their influences for the album as drawing upon poetic works including those of William Blake, also drawing influence from literature, in the form of magical realism. The vocals on the album are truly beautiful and serve as the perfect medium to deliver these well-crafted lyrics. This is album is something that you can put on when you want to relax, it really has a calming sort of effect to it due in part to the overall atmosphere on the album and in part to Clara’s voice, bit of which are soothing.
Overall, I was a big fan of the album and that’s why even though it fell a little outside of our regular genres we cover I wanted to take a look at it. Personally, I love blues and folk music so for me I wasn’t surprised at all when the album turned out to be a great listen on my first spin. If you’re not really into this type of music then this one may not be for you, but I suggest giving it a try first before making that judgement. For those of you who already enjoy this style of music I believe that you will really enjoy what A New Skin has to offer.
Listen to and order the album below: