by Anna Leja
Nicole Carr‘s solo project Bloom Offering is a force to be reckoned with. Her project name suggests something soft, sweet, saccharine, but alas, although not all wrong, her music in actuality cuts like a blood-clotted rusted knife. The name of her newest release, Unmasking the Wound, unleashed on Clan Destine Records this past July, assures the listener is in store for a bloodbath.
The album’s first and longest track, “Linger,” introduces us to this unmasking of wounds. A beautifully arranged electronic string section followed by a strong heartbeat slowly gushes forth a pool of drenched nostalgia born out of a deep cut. Carr’s vocals are buried pretty deep, struggling like a whimper due to some blood loss. Although Carr borrows and is obviously inspired by more traditional industrial sound structures, she manages to create her own modern post-industrial labyrinth for us to carefully navigate.
As she slowly loses more of her lifeline, she seems to struggle harder, against a “Mirrored Flame.” Possibly somebody who, like her, shares the same love along with the same psychosis. A torrid affair with another too similar or simply with the ever-bugging self/ego, teetering on the edge of a spontaneous combustion. Her slow-punching industrial beats become more and more earnest while keeping the heart alive via a modestly sized artillery.
I am more than lucky enough to have seen Carr play numerous times. I can attest to her statuesque and calculated nature on stage that is always mixed with such an intense sense of mania and violence—a mix I can personally and completely relate to. She balances an undulated swell with a hangnail of a snarl that makes one swoon and highly respect and fear her great capacity all in the same breath.
Carr’s vocals become menacing and forewarning by the end of the album, reminding me somewhat of Ogre‘s on my favorite Skinny Puppy song, “Smothered Hope,” despite Bloom Offering’s last song being quite slow, psychedelic, and uniquely her very own. Bloom Offering comes highly recommended as a new visionary in a scene chock-full of retro copycats, a dignified maiden seeking vindication and a place in a modern society that still panders to a room full of circlejerks. This proper balance of the ancient “humors” via an antiquated bloodletting just might not seem so laughable in the devolving present today.