claire rousay – sentiment

Channelling her signature sound into an album of emo-inflected pop songs, sentiment is claire rousay’s most personal work to date

Album Review by Patrick Gamble | 15 Apr 2024
  • claire rousay – sentiment
Album title: sentiment
Artist: claire rousay
Label: Thrill Jockey
Release date: 19 Apr

claire rousay describes her music as “emo ambient”, but until recently the influence of bands like The Promise Ring and Pedro the Lion were only audible in the wistful longing that underlines her abstract compositions. On sentiment this connection is much closer to the surface, with rousay transforming her domestic brand of musique concrète into a collection of melancholic pop songs. 4pm opens proceedings with a monologue by ambient musician Theodore Cale Schafer about the guilt that accompanies his depression. It sets the tone for an album that navigates the paradox of loneliness in an age of hyperconnectivity.

Combining the confessional songwriting of Bright Eyes with the post-rock inflected emo of The Appleseed Cast, tracks like 'it could be anything' and 'head', see rousay sing candidly about sex, jealousy and the pain of unequal love through thick swathes of autotune; her voice quivering not with desire, but the coiled charge of possibility. Elsewhere, the hypnotic textures of instrumental tracks like 'iii' and 'sycamore skylight' conjure memories of fleeting interactions and moments of failed intimacy. Every track on sentiment feels like a late-night phone call from a close friend; when the album stops, you find yourself missing the voice on the other end.

Listen to: it could be anything, asking for it, sycamore skylight