The first thing that hits you when listening to Marissa Nadler’s July is her voice. De-spite being superficially rich and warm, closer listening gives you a nagging impression of the singer’s cool detachment from what she’s singing about.
On July her voice lilts and soars over the understated guitar, but is never emotionally extravagant; rather, she seems to be permanently subdued and defeated.
The music backs up this style well, only occasionally featuring more than a guitar or two, and almost always in the same rhythm, tying the tracks together sonically. The lyrical content is deeply personal and if it’s based on true experiences, you can see why Nadler would sound a little downbeat.
July is soporific in the best sense of the word. It flows quietly from track to track, and leaves you in exactly the mood that Nadler intended to induce. On that basis it’s a real success, but for exactly that reason it seems quite ephemeral.
None of the individual songs make a real impression, and the album is better listened to as an organic whole rather than dipping into tracks here and there.
Giving July your full attention is definitely rewarding if you’re in the right state of mind, but you probably won’t find yourself coming back to it all that often.