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Joanne Robertson Blue Car

17th March 2023

Michael's Pick

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Joanne Robertson returns with a treasure of jewels from a fertile period of recording and songwriting circa 2020. These are culled from the same sessions as Painting Stupid Girls so you know the peaking emotional heft is there but somehow Blue Car hits even harder. With a poignant sound quality that sounds like it was recorded in the bathroom in between heartbreaks,  Robertson composing herself with a preternatural grace to throw out these stunning, beautiful vignettes like it was no big deal.

But each track feels like a big deal. The songs are elusive, perhaps intentionally so, gauzy in their production, wrapped in rain, the soundtrack to looking out the window at an empty street where once there were people. On Band Sit Together the guitar work is more complex than ever, acoustic this time, sparkling against the hiss of the tape. Take Me In has more complex chordings and a couple of endearing bloopers to remind us this is a real-ass person with their heart on their sleeve, somewhat. The recording style – you get these feeling these are dictaphone or voice note recordings capturing the moment Robertson has finished writing the song – is almost half the music, it adds such a massive weight of intimacy to proceedings, inviting you in beside the artist.
The melodies remind us a little of peak Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon, with the inevitable early Cat Power comparisons still relevant but really at this point Robertson is in a class of her own. Blue Car feels effortless, nothing is forced, recorded in the moment, somewhere in Glasgow deep in that regretful 2020 when communiques of human survival and connection were being laid down for us in the future to reach for. An Album Of The Year for me already.
  • Michael