Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake the Want Is
On her second album, Scottish pianist and singer Kathryn Joseph continues to excel at both the light and the dark without ever being grey, and it's the constant exchange between pain and beauty that makes this album is a roaring success.
On her second album, Kathryn Joseph continues to excel at both the light and the dark without ever being grey. As proven throughout her first album and cemented here, Joseph can sing about the deepest and most cavernous emotions to the most claustrophobic and cloying with the fragile beauty of a songbird and the raw natural power of towering North Sea waves; sometimes all at once. And it’s this balance, or rather, the constant exchange between pain and beauty, and other opposites, that drives From When I Wake the Want Is.
Mixing recently-written material with older pieces that have only now found their place, From When I Wake the Want Is paints a vivid picture of grief, loss, recovery and all things in between, led by Joseph’s familiar and intoxicating voice and bold playing style. Building on the aesthetics of her debut bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled, this follow-up sees producer and main musical collaborator Marcus Mackay employ his usual savvy splashes of percussion while embracing electronic beats and textures more fully this time around. Even some of the more subtle, underlying hums, rattles and drones in-between the louder, more rhythmically forceful moments help lend the album a greater sense of depth and space, while still sounding as intimate as a whisper in your ear. Funnily enough, that’s actually how the album begins on IIII with Joseph reciting the words that spill across the album’s tracklist; each line forming the title of a song. It serves as an apt foreshadowing of what’s to come; lulling us in gently before pulling us under with her.
Fans of Joseph’s work will likely find songs such as the excellent single Tell My Lover, the slow-burning and balladic We Have Been Loved By Our Mothers and Mouths Full of Blood familiar from recent live outings. However, when placed in sequence their sense of individuality fades as it sounds like they were always meant to be part of this one overarching piece of work alongside other highlights such as the lilting Safe, And You Survives and the album's brooding title track.
While the subject matter and style aren't vastly different to anything Kathryn Joseph’s done before, the progression here is more of a tasteful expansion of what came before it. In terms of finding new ways to express oneself with honesty while staying true to what makes you special, this album is a roaring success.
Listen to: Tell My Lover, Safe, Mouths Full of Blood