love's never meant much to me
Where would we be without stories? This is not a rhetorical question as much as it is a leading one: would we, as individuals, be able to mean anything to anyone without stories? Would we be able to handle being alive without the tales we tell ourselves, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant? It's hard for me to imagine a world without works of fiction as forms of deceptive escapism, or imaginations restricted to nothing but the present, concrete, and factual.
I'm not sure I'd be anywhere if it weren't for my mind's ability to transform my own experiences into altered slices of reality; fictionalised memories as a means of processing things that really couldn't have happened. Somewhere in the black mass between dissociation and fabrication is a space where trauma's omnipresent destruction delayed itself enough to ultimately allow for genuine, professional help to be reached.
With her debut, Ethel Cain announces herself as one of the most talented and intriguing creators in modern pop. A sonic cousin to Salem as much as Enya, it's thematically a reckoning of salvation and oppression, all played out across the battlefield of religion and love. It's an ambitious undertaking for a first album, but Cain's success largely comes down to embracing the universal language of pop as her mother tongue and keeping a deft hand over all aspects of her work, as both songwriter and producer.
A preacher's voice echos out a muffled sermon, before giving way to Ethel Cain's ethereal and hypnotic murmurs, sounding out like a soft battle cry. Cain (aka Hayden Anhedönia) returns with her debut album 'Preacher's Daughter', a sonic journey in which the character of Ethel Cain simultaneously embodies and rejects the role of the archetypal All-American Girl. Following the 'Inbred' EP and marking a stark growth of stylistic confidence, the record weaves ideas of trans-generational trauma, cultist Christianity and toxic relationships in a queer matrimony with epic soundscapes, Cain's prodigious voice repeatedly and ruthlessly demanding the emotional response of the listener.