The notoriety of Elizabeth Powell may be nowhere near that of, for instance, Elizabeth Fraser or labelmate Adrianne Lenker; Sarah McLachlan nor Joni Mitchell, although the voice of this relatively under-the-radar Canadian is both reminiscent of, and similarly remarkable to, all of the aforementioned. This became completely apparent when her Land of Talk released Applause Cheer Boo Hiss no fewer than an implausible fourteen years ago, and Weight of That Weekend – a self-professed “prayer for love,” lifted from their forthcoming Indistinct Conversations full-length – impressively reinforces such forceful sentiment. Serving as her “recognition of having been on the receiving end of a lifetime of sexual coercion, assault, boundary violations, and subsequent gaslighting”, lyrics concerning grappling with reality, that strange insomniac clarity, and unswerving resolve (most compellingly, “Holy Water, House of Pain/ Wanna heal from slaughter, and swim again”) combine with an empathic Americana backing to incredibly convincing effect. Thematically hefty, yet compassionately weighted, it’s supremely reassuring to hear that Powell’s subtle mastery proceeds undimmed.
Indistinct Conversations is available from May 15th via Saddle Creek.