Chelsea Wolfe: Birth of Violence (Sargent House) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, October 19th, 2019  

Chelsea Wolfe

Birth of Violence

Sargent House

Sep 17, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Birth of Violence is the second collection of acoustic songs for Chelsea Wolfe, who is carrying a decade of successful evolution. Seven years back, the Tarot card reader released Unknown Rooms, an unofficial album. Laying on a bed for the album-cover photo, Wolfe's left hand hides her face; she expresses a look of devastation. Fast-forward to Wolfe on the cover of Birth of Violence, and we see a powerful figure with a sharp dagger raised over her head. Full of confidence, where is Wolfe gonna plunge that knife?

No doubt, directly to the heart. As nimble as Sun Kil Moon, or as deluging as PJ Harvey, Wolfe keeps her Taylor acoustic guitar and graceful voice at a constant. Meanwhile, inviting instrumentation from Ben Chisholm, Jess Gowrie (drums), and Ezra Buchla (viola) pass through the songs. Birth of Violence has a cold, bleak core, but Wolfe turns ragid into pretty—she's creating feverish magic. The high-pitched calls to the wilderness in "When Anger Turns to Honey" is what happens when anger gets sweet. Wolfe grabs immediately with lead single and opening track "The Mother Road," shaking the listener with exhilaration, and not letting go until the one-minute outro field recording of a rainstorm.

Making and touring six albums in nine years left Wolfe exhausted from all the mileage. With mercury in her reach, Wolfe recoiled to find freedom, Birth of Violence's folk and country comfortability hitting her resourcefulness in a tornado. Timeless themes—psychedelic missions, transcontinental traveling, being everywhere and nowhere at once—meet sacred music that takes sexy turns ("last night your mouth was on my skin" from "American Darkness").

Wolfe is a sister of the road, and her high shrieks will lift you up. She's "Deranged for Rock & Roll," drinking her dreams and selling her beautiful music. The German word for Earth is "Erde," and "woman is the origin," Wolfe whispers. The heartbeat is strong, the strings jolt, and the hooves gallop. (www.chelseawolfe.net)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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