Brigid Dawson & The Mother's Network - Ballet of Apes
Castle Face Records - Tip-top of Castle Face’s osmosis list is the first quiver of tunes from Brigid Dawson and her newly minted Mothers Network: wise warnings dyed in dark hues, knotted and hard-won torch songs from the edge of a turbulent sea, bittersweet balladry spun in defense against evils familiar and unknown. Lovely though it may seem from a distance, the striation of loss quicksilvered throughout provides weighty balance to her contralto lilt. Those familiar with her harmonic counterpoint from her time in Thee Oh Sees or in OCS know she can belt as well as lullaby but there’s a fresh and smolderingly heavy swing in her step on display here that Castle Face mightily digs. Ballet Of Apes tapestries together sessions that read like a who’s who from outside the label’s castle walls—in Australia with Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Current Suppression Ring), in San Francisco with Mike Donovan (ex-Sic Alps), Shayde Sartin (ex-Fresh & Onlys / lifetime ringer) and Mike Shoun (ex-Oh Sees / Peacers), and in Brooklyn with instrumental heavy-weights Sunwatchers—and the results are spellbinding. At the focal point of this maelstrom, the lady, as if illumed by candlelight, intones, pleads, consoles—white magic perhaps, but it carries with it the anodized tang of blood.