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Kat Terran has produced a beautiful album with words and sounds that haunt and mystify.
Lion & Blue opens with “Aspen Tree,” and after the opening chords you be lost in the entire album, unwilling to even remember where the OFF button is.
Because Kat Terran transports you to a haunting place with her unique vocals (part warbling, part ancient chant, but melodic all the while) and the orchestration of her composite indie-folk music, which includes the obligatory snare drum and acoustic guitar, but also violins, cello and a flushed-out bass.
Drawing inspiration from influences both ethnic (she’s Lithuanian) and from the past (mom played Gregorian chants on the boombox, and Terran spent adolescence dependent on college radio) Kat Terran has painted a landscape she continues to explore.
In fact, she takes the listener to these places, which are semi-medieval (such as on the Baroque-influenced “Baltic Soldier) or Asian (such as the tinkling percussion on “Caravan”).
While notes are memorable, so are lyrics. And while the music can set the scene, it’s Terran’s words that transport listeners to exotic locales: “Small backyard with crib like fences” on “Southeast Window,” or “Right beneath the waves/misting crystal steel/tide swells from swallowing the sea” on “The Sea.”
With strong themes of nature, bleeding and swallowing, Lion & Blue is not a cheery place. In fact, Terran’s vocals, while dramatic, seem to saunter, letting on that much more emotion is kept leashed.
There’s a definite beauty in this album, like that of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, that makes us wonder.
Catherine E. Galioto is Rockzone's Features Editor / Columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.