The missive in my inbox informed me that ‘Hero Fisher’s new album has finally dropped’, and that ‘there has been some stunning support this year for Hero, making this the ice cream on the cake for the year’. I love a good messed metaphor, but more than anything, I love music that draws me in and moves me, especially when the effect is unexpected.
Her Fisher’s second full-length, the follow-up to 2015’s self-released debut Delivery is a layered, nuanced work, with echoes, shadows and darkness colouring her emotionally wrought songs. There’s a lot of electronic interference and studio effect going on here, not to mention thumping mechanised percussion that’s fuzzed around the edges, and it contrives to bring a new depth and certain kind of attack to the songs hitherto unheard in Hero’s work. ‘Binder’ is exemplary, with muffled percussion and a low-slung, murky bass roaming in a sonic fog while she effuses conflicting emotions. ‘I Let Love’ brings rolling drums and lilting acoustic guitar chimes by way of a backing to Hero’s heartfelt vocals which swoop and soar, carving both an inflection and melody that calls to mind later Cranes as she reflects that ‘I let love slip through my fingers’, while single ‘If I Die and Nothing Happens’ is a dark, throbbing electropop song. And therein lies the album’s greatest achievement, in that while it is, in fact, a fairly dark work, with dirt and distortion creeping in at the edges throughout, it’s also incredibly graceful and ultimately uplifting.
There are plenty of singer-songwriterly moments to be heard here: the backed-off and minimal accompaniment on ‘Push the Boat Out’ place Hero’s vocals very much to the fore, and allow her occasionally idiosyncratic enunciation to come forth with clarity.
The variously-attributed phrase that writing about music is lie dancing about architecture seems highly appropriate here. Sometimes, words simply aren’t adequate, and it’s hard to convey precisely how or why this is such an affecting collection of songs.
The press release suggests that for Hero, ‘Glue Moon’ is an idyllic sense of mental calm, the image of a pale moon above a still lake at dawn. But on listening, there seems to be a disquieting turbulence beneath the surface, the sound of an undercurrent with a dangerous pull. And so it is that with Glue Moon’, Hero Fisher draws the listener in subtly, by stealth, with an air of introspection and contemplation that carried depth and intrigue.