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Her Crooked Heart - To Love To Live To Leave

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 4 / 7 / 2019

Her Crooked Heart - To Love To Live To Leave
Label: Her Crooked Heart
Format: CD


Musically complex second album from Her Crooked Heart, the moniker for New York-based singer-songwriter Rachel Reis, proves highly personal but accessible

Rachel Ries aka Her Crooked Heart has many strings to her bow. She is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, rock and roll choir director, sidewoman and singer. Her new album brings together her talent and experiences along with Mike Lewis of Bon Iver and Shane Leonard, while Rob Moose is responsible for the string arrangements and she's even drafted in her own siblings. As someone described as "wholly indifferent to expectations of genre" Ries is as difficult to describe as you might expect. Back in 2013, Ries found herself touring a record around the world with divorce papers in her suitcase. She describes it as "leaving a good man in New York City and (leaping) into the un-tethered unknown" after two and a half years of marriage. This is her story of loving, leaving and living a new life. This is no angry and bitter break up album, there are no tear stained wails of lost love either. Instead 'Letters' starts our story by marrying a plaintive vocal with a piano and what sounds like a mournful violin sprinkled throughout. 'Courthouse' is an arresting tale. Even when we think we are making the right decisions, when they are life changing it can still feel like you are adrift on a stormy sea. She is taking back her name and asking the other party to forgive her. While I am loathe to decide exactly what another person is trying to say...this sounds like divorce proceedings to me. 'Young Love ss Like Nothing' is clear-eyed and unsentimental but still captures the wonder and fear of falling in love for the first time. 'Lamentation' closes the album. We have reached heights of euphoria, fallen into the depth of despondency and been indelibly changed by the experience. Finally Ries is moving on "So I leave you at the door/I don't look back/ I know that we're already gone." The album is beautifully presented with a full photo cover of an almost Gothic feast which, much like the songs waiting inside, rewards closer inspection. It also includes the lyrics. It feels like this is something not included as standard so much these days but playing a record and reading the lyrics alongside for the first time is one of life's simple pleasures. is it not? The songs are short but exactly as long as they need to be. Her Crooked Heart is touring the UK and Ireland this June and July. Ries will be joined by three women she feels "can...take on the feminine, humanist mantle of Her Crooked Heart and make it their own." They are Siri Undlin (Humbird), Adelyn Strei (Adro) and Hilary James (We Are Willows, Bathtub Cig). The quartet promise to blend not just classical and electric guitar, piano with synth and cello with drum triggers, but their voices too.

Track Listing:-
1 Letters
2 Courthouse
3 Enough
4 Pleasant Valley Reservoir
5 Young Love Is Like Nothing
6 Windswept
7 I Fell in Love
8 Are You Good You Are
9 Loving You
10 For a Song
11 Lamentation

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