Alison Cotton – “The Letter Burning”

Following up on 2022’s The Portrait You Painted of Me, Alison Cotton returns with a new album on the way for Rocket Recordings. Having lent her strings to The Left Outsides, The Eighteenth Day of May, and The Trimdon Grange Explosion, Cotton has since embarked on a solo stint, forging songs draped in darkness and desire. Her latest digs into historical storytelling, working as an imagined score to the lives and story of Ida and Louise Cook. The sisters built years of precedence visiting favored composers and singers in 1930s Nazi-occupied Europe, having been passionate fans of composition and opera. They’d use that pretext as a cover to help Jewish artists smuggle their lives into the UK and occasionally as far as the US. The sisters would bring the families’ valuables ahead of time in order to sell, giving the families a source of money once they’d fled. Using their ability to travel freely over the Dutch border, the sisters would return with furs and jewelry that would have needed to be left behind otherwise. Imbued with a darkness, the mid-point “The Letter Burning” underscores the act of Louise burning her archive of correspondence related to her work out of a perceived remorse for not being able to do more. Cotton’s strings quiver with sadness, augmented with mournful, wordless vocals dredged in anguish. The new album, Engelchen is out March 15th from Rocket and Feeding Tube.

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