Daughter of Swords: Dawnbreaker review – Classic folk and country sounds with a sharp pop edge

Wed, Jun 26, 2019, 06:30

   
 

Album:
Dawnbreaker

Artist:
Daughter of Swords

Label:
Bella Union

Genre:
Singer / Songwriter

On its surface, Dawnbreaker is a humble record. The songs, like millions before them, are led by acoustic guitar lines, the vocals gently placed on top, the melodies soft and lilting. Yet Dawnbreaker crackles with a comforting sense of warmth that dissolves all sense of cliché.

Daughter of Swords – aka Mountain Man musician Alexandra Sauser-Monnig – brings her sharp pop instincts to classic folk and country sounds, forming a suite so sophisticated, so nice on the ear, its replay value might well be limitless.

Though gently produced and with only light instrumentation complimenting those sweetly plucked guitars, the power of the performance elevates every track. With its chirpy melody, Gem could be a Grimes number if you replaced the acoustic methodology with more burly synthpop.

Mostly, though, Sauser-Monnig’s style evokes images of the archetypal travelling Americana performer. Encapsulating the veracity of her writing, Easy Is Hard captures a strained relationship with impactful imagery.

The singer’s serene voice finds a satisfying pocket on Shining Woman. On Grasses, Sauser-Monnig sings, “I need a moment to quiet this pain,” and, indeed, this is music that calms the soul.

These are simple songs that are damn-near perfect.