Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake the Want Is


Kathryn’s voice has the narcotized sex appeal of Mazzy Star (Hope Sandoval), a pinch of Joanna Newsom’s childish tonality, and the howl of Martha Wainwright. Her voice is incredibly fucking unique. You’ve never heard anything like it before. Some singers put on a fake voice for effect. They make is sound all fucky in order to be cool. Don’t believe me? Listen to Dylan’s train wreck of a fucking album Nashville Skyline and compare it to anything else he’s done. What the fuck Robert? Did you eat a goat choking on a frog full of rubber bands? Sometimes when singers do this shit it’s really fucking annoying. Other singers like Bjork, Janis Joplin, or Louis Armstrong sound naturally unique. These motherfuckers weren’t/aren’t trying anything. That’s just how they are. They can’t help it. Kathryn fits snuggly into this category. Singing differently? Cool. But it doesn’t mean shit if the album sucks. Good thing Kathryn has made an album with the depth and vastness of a fucking ocean.

Her last album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled won her the Scottish Album of the year award back in 2015. The style of that album, and this one, is with the thick reverb of early Sigur Rós and the darkness of Lamb. Each song is centred around a simple piano motif. The space of her music is oceanic. This isn’t fucking accidental. The theme of water is everywhere on this shit. It comes seductively out of a mouth on the title track, “in my mouth, in my mind, in my back and my spine”. It’s symbolic within lyrics like, “Tell my lover it’s not over till we drown”. It’s the theme of entire fucking songs like “There Is No God But You” which tells a story of a young girl caught in a river. It’s water, water, everywhere and every motherfucker sinks.

Kathryn uses this poetic platform to tell stories of love, death, anger, heartbreak, and sex. Even the lyricism comes with a rolling feeling as if the words are made of waves. The depth and darkness on this album are seriously addictive. It makes you spacey as fuck. Shit makes you feel like you’re floating aimlessly on top of a cold dark ocean under a starless sky and there’s nobody around for miles. Instead of feeling fear, somehow, you’re completely fucking content. You embrace the coldness of the space around you like it’s a thick winter quilt. This album is seriously fucking gorgeous. And in the vast ocean of shit that’s out there, this album rises to the top like a raft made of grade A heroin. All you need to do in order to get seriously fucked up, and take the plunge into this sonic sea, is press play. 


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