Aisha Burns – Argonauta

Aisha Burns' second solo album Argonauta is rooted in tragic, magical details of the every day

Album Review by Katie Hawthorne | 22 May 2018
  • Aisha Burns – Argonauta
Album title: Argonauta
Artist: Aisha Burns
Label: Western Vinyl
Release date: 25 May

On the face of things, Argonauta sounds as if it's promising mythological escapism. Instead, Texan-born, Massachusetts-based musician Aisha Burns' second solo album is rooted in the tragic, magical details of the every day. An argonauta is, it turns out, a type of octopus; a species that uses a fragile kind of egg shell as a buoyancy aid for its young, before the mothers float away on the tides. It’s a fitting analogy for this painful, understated folk album, shadowed with the sadness of Burns grieving a parent.

The title track burns with a suffocating kind of loneliness, claustrophobic from too much empty space. You can hear the squeak of skin on metal and wood in her strummed guitar, and Burns’ expansive voice rolls through a gentle meditation on grief and joy. I Thought I Knew You Well is soft, old-fashioned devastation. Must Be a Way is woozy Americana that grows, carefully into a natural phenomenon. Violin strings swell, fluttering in time with the beat of your fragile human heart; 'The days are so long here / Watch my chest rise and fall,' she sings, '… Trapped in this desert.'

These eight tracks are so deliberate and self-contained that you almost wish for something to puncture their protective casing, for Burns to let her agile voice soar. But Argonauta is an album still forming questions, giving no answers. 'When will life begin?' she asks on Leavin’, 'It’s gonna do me in.'

Listen To: I Thought I Knew You Well, Must Be a Way, Leavin’