Review: Anna von Hausswolff – Ceremony
Published on June 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Anna von Hausswolff, an “organ-wielding enchantress” from Gothenburg, has opened for such modern day greats as Efterklang and Tindersticks; indeed, Rasmus Stolberg of the former group professed to being “obsessed” with her second album Ceremony when we spoke with him last October, describing her as sounding like “Kate Bush singing at the gates of Hell”. He’s got a point.
Von Hausswolff’s innate, ornate musicality is evidenced from the off in “Epitaph of Theodor”, which goes from funereal to sheer splendour over the course of its five-or-so minutes. “Deathbed” then comes stomping out of its own ominous wilderness, von Hausswolff finally letting her soaring voice loose almost five minutes into its nine. One skyscraping instrumental coda later and you’d be hard pressed to name a more epic-sounding track this year.
“Goodbye” is a landscape of sudden rapture, rising like the sun with its astonishing use of dynamics, while “Liturgy of Light” evokes the slow-yet-intensely-burning majesty of Spirt of Eden-era Talk Talk. Ceremony also comes bearing some instantly arresting vocal set pieces: there’s the cascading downwards inflection on “I’ll take it baaaaaack!” within “Ocean”, an impressively operatic turn on “Sova” (distinguished also by its sticky Flaming Lips guitar, clip cloppy percussion and managing to integrate a daft keyboard sound into its melodrama), and is she really singing “My milk is grey and bitter” on the brilliantly morbidly titled “Funeral for My Future Children”? There’s a chance we misheard that one.
Whereas “Goodbye” merely sounds like the sun rising, the closing track of Ceremony both sounds like one and is titled “Sun Rise”. Welcome back to modernity, church organ, and credit to Rasmus Stolberg of Efterklang for his fine taste: whatever ‘it’ is, Anna von Hausswolff has most definitely got it.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Ceremony will be released on June 17th by City Slang.