What does Bailey Miller sound like?
Minimal acoustic folk mixed with experimental soundscapes.
The review of Bailey Miller – love is a dying
There is a fascinating vulnerability in Bailey Miller’s new album ‘love is a dying’. It’s an album that was written and built in real time, with songs ordered chronologically. Most songs on the album were recorded and committed on their first take. It offers a raw and unrestricted look into Bailey Miller’s view on love and love lost.
The album opens with the medley-styled acoustic guitar and vocal ‘glacier’, which switches between totally different riffs and slow tempos. It sounds like an EP within an album but perfectly showcases Bailey Miller’s style. The guitar is rhythmic and tactile and surrounding the guitar is an interesting soundscape. This time around it’s bird song but across the album, things get murkier and more abstract. For me, ‘glacier’ is a song that sees love thawing out across seven minutes of indie folk goodness and the rest of the album is then a navigation of what that feels like in different stages.
Some tracks are totally alien and bizarre. ‘ink’ is a warped spoken word piece you can barely make out over clanging metal swipes and morse code wire bristle sprinkles. ‘needs’ is a song that songs initially quite jolly as its country uke bounce gathers momentum before it fades out in its prime. Elsewhere ‘I am trying’ slowly glitches out minimal acoustic guitar into shivering spasms of notes. The song only repeats the title but you can hear the duality of self-convincing and hopelessness. ‘hunger’ sounds like the track is playing through a gramophone. The piano and vocals are recorded “in room” and filtered thinly so it sounds empty and vapid – lacking the nutritious love that the album clearly is searching for. Then there is the beautiful ‘goldfinch’ which places Bailey’s voice naked and alone for an intimate piece. Frog ribbits are the only accompaniment to her voice – as if she was looking for a prince but kissed a frog instead. It is a classic indie folk anthem without touching any instruments at all.
Whilst Bailey Miller definitely roams the experimental edges of indie folk, there are some absolutely sublime direct-to-folk tracks here. The slow, moody lament of ‘admirer’ brings up the idea of ‘it’s not you anymore’ like a dark cloud moving in. ‘mirror’ is an eight-minute dive into bubbling fear and ends with a giant sigh. It sounds like a bedroom recording and whilst it is embellished with distant piano chimes and some subtle vocal effects, the song channels a Chelsea Wolfe acoustic vibe perfectly. ‘still’ is an ethereal guitar and vocal piece where Miller layers her voices to create a whispy heaven backdrop to her minimalist playing. It’s one of the few moments of calm on the album.
Two of the darkest tracks stand out to me as personal favourites, alongside the shapeshifting ‘glacier’. The first is ‘cul-de-sac’ where Bailey Miller wields a baritone guitar like a weapon. It is as haunting as it is hypnotic and is one for repeat in the witching hour. The closing title track is the other standout. It is the sole track that goes electric as the acoustic guitar becomes a distorted chug. Backed by brooding organs and increasingly distraught vocals, it feels apocalyptic on a global and personal level. Emma Ruth Rundle would be proud.
‘love is a dying’ is a fantastic debut album, with a raw but cohesive narrative and unique style to it. Bailey Miller has announced herself onto the music scene in superb fashion and I am excited to hear where she’ll take her brand of indie folk soundscapes next. Play this album late at night when you are feeling like sticking two fingers up to the world and it’ll make you feel a whole lot better.
Recommended track: cul-de-sac
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