On The Long Afternoon of Earth, Clare Adrienne Cameron Hubbard sings in a deliberately naïve soprano against a trickle of guitar and simple effects, sounding a little like Joanna Newsom, though without Newsom’s elfin tweet and with less compact poetry in the lyrics.
To never return
Nothing after “burn” is completely necessary. Hubbard’s childlike delivery leaves the ends and middles of words plucked upwards, as if we’re listening to a person still learning to sing, which makes the singer sound young and plaintive and therefore sincere. The listener is invited to anticipate surprises—what will this sincere person say next, and what stories will she tell? This style is often referred to as “folk”, but this attenuate delicacy is folk in the way Marie Antoinette wearing a milkmaid dress was a farm worker. It’s an idea of folk simplicity, rather than the root of it. A thoughtful, wistful, and likeable album.
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