Claire Cronin, TALsounds | Elastic | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Claire Cronin

Claire Cronin

Ally Burnett

Claire Cronin, TALsounds 

When: Tue., May 24, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $10 suggested donation
There’s a devastating starkness to the music of Claire Cronin that connects her to the old-school British folk tradition, especially given the bleak poetry that she sets her gorgeously forlorn melodies to. But there’s also a mix of plaintiveness and sunshine that undoubtedly reveals her loyalties to her American heritage and influences. Her brand-new album, Came Down a Storm (Ba Da Bing), is the most arresting record I’ve heard all year, the haunting imagery of a line like “One season keeps repeating / Scars asking why they’re bleeding” ameliorated by both the dry grain of her voice and the surprising arrangements that make the most of minimal materials. Cronin wrote the six songs during a long-distance collaboration with Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich, eventually recording with him in Albuquerque. The strings of Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and her touring partner Ezra Buchla together with Chris Vatalaro’s judicious drumming add depth and counterpoint at powerfully unexpected moments. On opening track “The Unnatural” there’s a sudden passage shaped by lines of weeping strings that inject a blast of unlikely gut-punching beauty, while on “Dark Water” crushing walls of noise surround the lone strumming of a guitar. Ultimately the imaginative guitar playing of Cronin and Dietrich—marked by sudden rhythmic shifts—does the lion’s share of the work, serving up a jagged angularity one doesn’t expect in such a mellifluous singer-songwriter setting.
— Peter Margasak



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