Josienne Clarke

In All Weather

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U.K. singer/songwriter Josienne Clarke worked for years as half of a folksy duo with Ben Walker before completing In All Weather, her first set of hushed, sparely arranged solo songs. Clarke's bright vocal style was at the center of her songs with Walker, and it is on her solo debut, but here her vocals rise even higher in the mixes, ornamented only slightly by light accompaniment. Clarke's songwriting is gentle and bittersweet, moving between themes of self-discovery and painful emotional rebirth on the ghostly opening track "Learning to Sail." Her voice glides over a barely-there backdrop of electric piano and minimal percussion. The mood is steady and controlled, and much of In All Weather takes a similar approach. The wistful instrumentation of "The Drawing of the Line" recalls Drake's hopeful yet melancholy tunefulness, and Clarke delivers her circuitous melodies with a similarly gentle touch. She draws deep into the murk of sadness on "Dark Cloud" and flees a failing relationship after giving it her best years as soft flutes and harp cheer her on in "Leaving London." Comparatively cheery songs like "Seconds" and "If I Didn’t Mind" break up the often-aching atmosphere, but still find Clarke sailing stormy seas. The album takes a variety of approaches, shifting subtly between downtempo acoustic pieces like "Wall and Hallways" and relative rockers like "Slender, Sad & Sentimental." Subdued and graceful, Clarke never succumbs to sad-sack tropes on In All Weather. The songs are introspective and pained with no hints of self-pity, leaving plenty of space to drift away on any of their many airy melodies.

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