Subverting expectations Joesphine Foster moves further from her roots as a folk figurehead than ever before on Godmother. While Foster might be most known for her otherworldly voice more than the instrumentation that surrounds it, the latest album finds her forcing a crack in the cosmic binding, letting the soft lap of electronic precision soak into the bedrock and synths supplant the spare guitars that have marked a great deal of her work. Here she’s playing folk of a different sort — mechanical medieval melodies that thumb through the Ghost Box catalogs of Belbury Poly and Hintermass. Foster applies her idiosyncratic approach to folk, full of soaring vocals and dark shimmer to a less terrestrial palette with seamless ease. Against the lasered backdrop of synth-folk, her songs still pull at gossamer emotions, recasting her as a bard building hope out of technological fallout.
Foster eases the listener into her song cycle, like slowly turning up the heat on a pot. The opening few songs hew closer to her more acoustic fare, but it’s not long before the shifting beats and deep bass begin to rattle along the bones while her synths sparkle in iridescent shades catching light from all directions. The record is an eerie requiem, hymns of hope among the ash. There’s always been something beyond the pale of this realm about Foster’s music, but here she’s completed the journey — a spiritual sojourn through the light beams and back again. For those that think they know what a Josephine Foster album entails, Godmother begs to differ.
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