ambient chamber folk dream folk Experimental folk harp review synth

Bailey Miller – Still Water Review

Hauntingly cosmic ambient folk to lull you into calm and confusion.

What does Bailey Miller sound like?

Julia Holter crossed with Bat For Lashes.

The review of Bailey Miller – Still Water

There is a track halfway through Bailey Miller’s album “Still Water” which perfectly sums up everything the album offers in a beautiful six-minute composition. “Into What” has quirky pulsating rhythmic synths that sound like tuneful bubbles that slowly get coated in Bailey’s vocals like an ocean blanket. The vocals are melodic, ethereal and lead towards a bigger melody without giving you everything. Over time more chaotic ambience and noise take over and the track veers into folksy ambiguity and otherworldly territory. When it’s finished, you know you’ve been on a wild journey but have no idea of the destination. You just know it was an unusual ride.

Bailey Miller
Bailey Miller

This perfectly encapsulates how I feel about “Still Water”. Bailey Miller has merged together ethereal folk instruments in a way that makes them feel like rustic ambience. Then Bailey drenches her voice in reverb, often does the same to the folk instruments and then lets it swim in ambient synths and noises. This means you can get odd folksy ditties like “222” or melodic drones like the title track and its sequel. The harp plays a central role here too as many tracks have a stillness to them in the drone synths and guitars but the harp adds movement to the music and grounds it.

Musically, Bailey Miller feels like she has a sunbed at the crossroads of Bat For Lashes (vocally) and Julia Holter (musically). The use of an over-reverbed voice as a siren but also as a melodic instrument works in so many ways. It causes chaos and confusion in the gurgling “Hypnogagia” whereas it calms and subdues in the chamber harp ballads “You, Softly” and the stunning “Balm”. Percussion really features in the album but “Parallel Place” is an ethereal dance track with a rave bass synth. This allows Bailey’s voice to move between vocalist and main melodic instrument in the outro. The closing track “Emptiness, Rejoice” also brings in a drum machine for something a little different too. Along with “Something Rather Than Nothing”, they both use guitar like a postrock wall of sound but slowly as if it’s a post-rock gazing track in slow motion. It is effortlessly beautiful and emotionally devasting to listen to.

Bailey Miller says that when she made this album, she spent a lot of time giving into the music. She also referenced a spiritual crisis and SSRI withdrawals. You can hear this throughout the album. Be it the intimate night owl thoughts of “Wilt” or the cosmic dread of “The Holes” with its grizzling electric guitars and open-plucked harp. All the songs sound like they’re searching for a higher power whilst feeling simultaneously inward looking too. It’s the kind of album you’d have on for self-reflection or a quiet crisis before moving on with your next step.

Recommended track: Something Rather Than Nothing

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Bailey Miller - Still Water

8.5

8.5/10

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