Barren Harvest seem to know that life is gorgeous, cruel, short, boundless, fragile and yet hearty. Frailty and strength are often odd bedfellows.
I just found out a few hours ago that the mother of one of my very best friends has passed away, perhaps even from foul play. Subtle Cruelties has been encapsulating my world since and is a fitting rumination on mortality. I spent a few hours lying around sad and listless, before realizing that my friend’s mother was a creative and positive soul who struggled but prized love and the arts. She was like my crazy aunt and would have wanted me to get back to writing and smile. Plus, it makes me feel better- to a degree. “Subtle Cruelties” is full of portions of the Tennyson epic “In Memorium”, so this album is certainly fitting for my sad state of mind.
Coming off like a marriage of the more ethereal side of Jarboe/Gira Swans with more synth and ambient leanings, Barren Harvest stun on this release. A series of tracks called ‘Memoriam I’ up through the numeral “VI” are all poetic highlights of loneliness that fill the nerves in the unsettling yet comforting way Nine Inch Nail’s did on the womb-like “A Warm Place”. ‘
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