WITH her stunning, graceful, mysterious debut album out tomorrow on Keeled Scales, Louisianan folk riser musician Renée Reed has dropped a fourth and final single to usher you into the scented finery of her world; watch the video for “I Saw A Ghost” below.
“I Saw A Ghost” rings true with the four-track ambience which pervades her home-recorded album lending it a retro compression which entirely suits Renée’s voice, a soaring, swooping thing here, with a pastorally bluesy bend. She has that breathy resonance of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, but brings a more European effortless trilling to her vocals too.
It’s a voice to be, quite literally, enchanted by, out there in the flatwoods; a voice of seductive tonality, presence. Maybe Claudine Longet getting a little pastoral psych circa ’68. The song has a stately folksiness, sounds like a processional dance with strict partnering rules or somesuch; bleeding into the otherworld in her voice, the gliding honey of which looks down from above on us all.
Renée says that the song ” … is on one hand a story about seeing a ghost, but the ‘ghost’ also refers to myself dealing with disappointment and sadness from a multitude of sources, and learning about myself as I get through it.”
The dark and befittingly fairytale stop-motion video was painstakingly created by Joseph Howard and Emily Curran. Renée explains the thinking about the accompanying video: “I’ve always had a fascination with stop-motion animation and puppetry. I’ve also long-admired Joseph Howard’s work, so I was thrilled when he took up the task of bringing this video to life.
“The lyrics of the song dance a thin, blurry line between literal and figurative, and Joseph and his partner Emily captured the essence of that beautifully with this video. It’s so evocative. Each time I watch it I see something new.”
That album? It’s hazily folky and braids a fine Americana with the more European sensibilities from Renée’s Cajun roots, She sums up the album thusly: “This album is a collection of songs about toxic relationships, seeing ghosts, ancestral baggage and blessings, and daydreaming about love. It is about certain feelings and experiences I’ve had over my life coming to fruition in the past three years.
“It was all made on a four-track recorder at home, in a place and in a way I feel most natural, and I believe that quality comes through in the sound.”
Us? We say of the album: “Renée Reed’s debut is spun from very clever finery; a flow of tracks, folky and so American and yet so European, psychedelic in the way Devendra is, spectral in the way Marissa Nadler so is, but in colour rather than her perfumed sepia tone; Espers but less mushroomy, but still blindingly ethereal.
“Renée: she’s such a talent, this absolute mastery of guitars, harmonic intricacy, a voice clear and honest and true the like of which you may not have encountered in intelligent songwriting outside Karen Carpenter, definitely Margo Guryan. Kinda wow actually. Wow. I’m not sure if I want to wake from this particular spell.”
Renée Reed’s self-titled debut album will be released by Keeled Scales on digital, cassette, CD and LP tomorrow, March 26th; it’s available to order here.