Album Review Skullcrusher - Quiet The Room4 Stars
‘Quiet The Room’ leans heavily on folk, yet in style it embodies something entirely different.
It takes two minutes for Helen Ballentine’s voice to fully break through the dreamlike whispers of ‘Building A Swing’, a tell-tale sign of the considered leap from 2020’s self-titled EP to her debut full-length as Skullcrusher. The raw beauty of the former has evolved, stepping away from the directly folk-inspired sound – having previously namechecked the likes of Nick Drake - and in her home studio creating something altogether more unique and personal. The likes of ‘Whatever Fits Together’ expand with every listen, with layer upon delicately impactful layer. An early interlude samples Helen playing piano as a child, awash with an ethereal haze that pushes it out of reality. This distorted truth provides the backbone for a record that examines her youth and faces past reoccurring nightmares head on. The impact of both is palpable, an ever-present unsettled tone existing even in the soaring beauty of the aptly titled ‘Outside, playing’. On ‘Lullaby In February’ the two worlds clash with menacing precision as the track devolves into spine-chilling madness. It sets the scene for unresolved self-examination, one that celebrates the darkness as much as the light. With this near-mystical storytelling ‘Quiet The Room’ leans heavily on folk, yet in style it embodies something entirely different. Seemingly on the edge of collapse, it tells a fraught tale of fragile memories that exist on the very brink of reality.
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