For fans of Adrianne Lenker, Shannen Moser, Field Medic, Lomelda, Julie Byrne, Liz Cooper and the Stampede.
Daughter of Swords’ Dawnbreaker spins webs of stretching landscapes, intimate self-reflection, and the solace of a eulogy. Marked by gentle acoustic strumming, the faintest vocal harmonies, and folk storyweaving, the affect of this album soars most in its home-grown familiarity and faithful consistency.
Mountain Man’s Alexandra Sauser-Monnig paces her lyrics with intent, fully forming her own conclusions before speaking out loud. The characters that drift in and out of her stories (see opening track Fellows) could be people she knew, or mirrors through which she talks to versions of herself. Dawnbreaker feels like a faint memory being retold to you by someone else, and the sporadic flourish of gentle harmonies on Fields of Gold texturize Sauser-Monnig’s musings. It is this introspective exploration that distinguishers Daughter of Swords’ storytelling from that of Mountain Man.
Sauser-Monnig creates the perfect balance between indie folk and an Americana dream, be it resting in the tall brush on Grasses or careening through the evening air on a bicycle in Shining Woman. The occasional toned-down electric guitar and textured vocal harmonies lend their curiosity to the flowing breezes, pink clouds, and rising mountains painted on Dawnbreaker.
Undoubtedly, the grittiest Americana track Daughter of Swords delivers is Rising Sun. A classic and undulating electric blues riff peddles along behind a soulful harmonica solo and Sauser-Monnig’s sweeping notes that rise and fall like the Western mountainsides she seems to climb, not searching for anything in particular, but finding all along the way.
While Long Leaf Pine and Gem sparkle with optimism, tracks Easy Is Hard and Human portray the melancholy that heartache, a soaring soprano, and the peppered-in twinkling of a grand piano illustrate so well. The magic of Sauser-Monnig’s lyricism is that even morose moods never feel truly hopeless, rather, they are examples of folk storytelling at its finest: the story sits back, and, accompanied by the ever-reliable acoustic, tells itself.
Lastly, a perfect ending to a folky dream: Dawnbreaker’s title track is arguably the most pensive, featuring comparably deeper, earthier guitar tones than its predecessors. The topic is hazy, but this is where Sauser-Monnig’s heartbreaking warble shines. The final word of the album, a low, oaky utterance of the word “Dawnbreakin’”, invokes finality. The song feels like a eulogy, an acceptance, a forgiving.
Keep up with more to come from Daughter of Swords here:
- Fields of Gold
- Shining Woman
- Easy Is Hard
- Long Leaf Pine