The 7th album from Chelsea Wolfe She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She once again sees an artist unafraid to reinvent her gothic self, producing a trip-hop laden classic for a new age.

Release date: February 9, 2024 | Loma Vista Recordings | Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp

The aura of Chelsea Wolfe has been growing and expanding for over 15 years at this point. Across this time she’s expanded beyond the down to Earth, solo folkisms of her debut The Grime and the Glow (making a muted return on her last album the Birth of Violence), through denser gothic synths on her breakthrough Abyss and sludge and doom metal on Hiss Spun. With her new album She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She, Wolfe has branched further outwards to trip-hop, giving a truly 90s flavour to the Witchcraft layered aesthetic she has accumulated. While her venturing slightly into the mainstream has seen modelling opportunities and a horror film soundtrack in collaboration with Tyler Bates, 2024 looks like the time her solo music output reached further again.

After the controversy surrounding Sargent House, Wolfe has ended up signing to the exciting Loma Vista Recordings. Their roster has a vibrant mix of artists from the energetic rap of Denzel Curry to the banjo infused hardcore of Show Me The Body, with Wolfe now on the label she has the biggest platform of her career with a label who is willing to put their backing behind an artist willing to branch themselves out and constantly tread new ground while remaining true to their personality and artistic vision. She Reaches Out She Reaches Out To She is described by Wolfe as ‘dense and minimal, raw and opulent, intimate and expansive, the production also breaks apart and then rebuilds’. Something to behold, to say the least.

An album starting with “Whispers In The Echo Chamber” is fitting as Wolfe almost never seems to break out of one, but it’s a soaring, consuming whisper. There’s always been this gorgeousness in her voice, while soft you might imagine it could get lost in the mass of sounds going on. But as with the doom and sludge metal of Hiss Spun it just provides a thicker canvas for which her tones can paint in black. Much of the following albums strays further from her past sounds, delving into that abyss of 90s influences. In fact, the album feels of the 90s in the same way as Lost Highway, notably in that sound world yet timeless at once. “House of Self Undoing” is reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ “The Perfect Drug” of that film’s soundtrack. Its mix of a driving beat with gothic vocals and atmospheric instrumental creates a club hit for a Lynchian underground club.

The ethereal Massive Attack of “Everything Turns Blue” takes us into the denser tapestry of “Tunnel Lights”, with its ‘late-nite Twin Peaks feel’. With a soul piano, electronic drums mix with a thick rumbling beat as is becoming familiar. Those floating vocals lead everything while a distorted guitar haunts the background. Tension looms in the song throughout as things clash into each other into the chorus. There’s a subtle hint to her Americana roots, buried beneath a layer of heavy electronics as her old world meets a new one. The trip-hop sounds remain prominent on “The Liminal”, becoming a spookier take on the early sounds of Portishead. Wolfe becomes a gothic doppelganger of Beth Gibbons in an engaging clash of her personality with more classic sounds of a past decade.

At this part in the album the creative vision truly takes hold with inspiration from the sounds of Björk. More dense electronics take up the low end on “Eyes Like Nightshade”, with the feeling of open space amid a range of sounds. There’s an Arabic flavour to the wind instruments and rattling, while the glitchiness of the album catches up, building with layers of sound. The electronics remind of Fossora, the exploration of gabber underneath the whispered, soft howl. While it never pieces together there’s a complete picture. “Unseen World” similarly feels like Iceland’s pop queen, the pinnacle of what the Salem Witches’ answer to Björk would be. With a typically familiar and yet unique beat, thrust beneath an enthralling mass of synths, strings, and high pitched vocals.

Truthfully, it does feel as if the experimentation and attention to detail on the breadth of sound has taken over some of Wolfe’s vulnerability and emotion, which is why the last two songs bring a breath of fresh air to an album which could have petered out without it. “Place in the Sun” is a piano driven piece which gives Wolfe space to breathe. If there’s one thing she hasn’t done so far, it’s really delve into the depth of her emotional folk journeys vocally. The beat is sparser, there’s less going on as her voice soars, while still in that whisper. She feels at her most vulnerable, left open by the lack of texture in the song which actually makes it a magnificent penultimate track.

Lead single “Dusk” feels like the true bookend to “Whispers in the Echo Chamber” as they’re the place which give an opportunity for guitarist Bryan Tulao to shine. It also feels the most like Wolfe’s back catalogue, especially the less metal driven songs of Hiss Spun and those on Abyss. The real drums return to finish off what mostly electronics have done, reintroducing a dynamic layer that her best work has had sometimes found missing. Having said that, it still feels like a fitting closer, uniquely Wolfe with a great amount of input from Ben Chisholm as ever. It climaxes into a dual guitar hit reminiscent of Hiss Spun’s best moments, balancing that power with intriguing elements and her ever incredible voice.

She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She is Chelsea Wolfe at her most creatively daring, she remain at her unique best in a world of sounds we’ve not heard from her before. While sometimes sacrificing some power or vulnerability, the intrigue and tension brought across the album make for a timeless album which really feels like one to reach beyond a fringe audience for an artist who has all the qualities to play to a range of crowds without sacrificing her personality. Once again, Wolfe has managed to cement herself as one of the most exciting artists in time while simultaneously inviting the question where can she take us all next?



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