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Grawlixes Bring You Existential Folk

By Jessica Porter-Langson |

Raw, existential, yet undeniably catchy. Who would have thought that songs about murder, depression, and heartbreak could sound so sweet? Yet here we are, faced with New Zealand band Grawlixes’ silvery sophomore album Love You to Death.

If there was one word to describe Grawlixes’ music, it would be tender. The music from this five-piece coils around you like a serpent, drawing you in until you feel like every lyric was written just for you. Penelope Esplin and Robin Cederman recorded the first Grawlixes album as lovers. Since then they have garnered the support of three more members (Alex Vaastra, Emma Hattaway, and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa) and romantically split up. Although sad, much like the legendary Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham relationship, the pair have managed to turn this split into some bewitching music and can be heard singing together on tracks like City Across the Bay.

The arrangement on this album is subtle yet well thought out. The instrumentals seamlessly blend together and each line has purpose. Vaastra on the violin has steered away from the traditional folk role you would expect of the violin and has used slightly more experimental techniques to give the instrument a standout position (Honey Bees, Creature of Habit, The Wrong Idea).

The album starts off strong with Honey Bees, a slow-rolling, Norah Jones-esque tune, however, the highlight of this album is the track Dalliance. By definition, a dalliance is a casual romantic relationship, and that is exactly what the song is, casual and romantic. Esplin’s opening accordion theme instantly transports you to the banks of the river Sein without ever feeling cliche. Love You to Death ends with Never Invited, a beautifully introspective track that closes out an album that is in a flux state between backyard folk and back-room bar ballads that will leave you with bated breath for what comes next from Grawlixes.

Listen to Love You to Death by Grawlixes exclusively in Hi-Res on Qobuz now!

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