Tirzah – Colourgrade

Taking cues from her early mixtapes, Tirzah's songs on new album Colourgrade function as sketches that build to create a heavy yet rewarding listen

Album Review by Skye Butchard | 27 Sep 2021
  • Tirzah - Colourgrade
Album title: Colourgrade
Artist: Tirzah
Label: Domino
Release date: 1 Oct

Tirzah’s stark and minimal songs have an uncanny ability to conjure a world lurking just behind the curtain. What first sounds slight and standoffish becomes warm and overwhelming after a few spins. That ability made her 2018 album Devotion an instant classic. Colourgrade, her long-awaited return, is even more oblique, taking longer to reveal the heart at the centre. Taking cues from her early mixtapes, its songs function as sketches that reinforce each other to create a heavy and rewarding listen.

Made after the birth of her first child, and recorded before the arrival of her second, Colourgrade portrays early motherhood as weary, surreal, isolating and beautiful. 'You got me, I’ve got you / We made life, it’s beating' she sings on Beating, backed by a simple drum beat and skin-tickling static. Directly after is Sleeping, a futuristic blues song that captures the late-night delirium that comes with having a young child.

It would be reductive to view the album solely through this lens of motherhood. The mood may be consistent and songs may be skeletal, but the emotions are varied and often indescribable. From the trip-hop-meets-funeral-dirge of Sink In to the aching vocalisations of Crepuscular Rays, Tirzah is intent to make you feel vivid, ineffable things you haven’t before.

Listen to: Beating, Sink In, Send Me