"Was it a dream/or something sinister," sings Marissa Nadler on "Was It a Dream," one of the most lingering tracks on this, her sixth album. As she proves most ably, it can certainly be both, especially when the object is love lost.
A union undone can quickly seem like an apparition, a strange quality of memory that Nadler divines with exacting poise.
Though her spectral acoustic style is based in folk, especially the shivering British finger-picked tradition, she has steadily been building something that now doesn't sound much like folk at all -- indeed, it's more like a future Lorde, stripped down and with a touch of the spooky strength manifested by Aimee Mann circa "Magnolia" and Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval.
Nadler's voice alone has carried her past albums, but talented producer Randall Dunn has worked to help cast everything in an inky blue predawn light, the time of night when, as in the album's coda, you absently note you've got nothing in your heart.