What an irresistible pairing! It’s one you’d never dream to put together, but upon hearing of Jarboe and Helen Money’s collaboration you can’t help but think about how right it feels and marvel at how this hasn’t always been an existing partnership. Jarboe is best known for her involvement with avant-garde troupe Swans up until 1998 when the band split-up, returning only to provide backing vocals on 2012’s ‘The Seer’. Jarboe has released a multitude of solo work, as well as countless collaborations with noteworthy metal bands and musicians, including the likes of Neurosis and Cobalt. Helen Money (aka Alison Chesley) is a well known for her aggressive, amplified playing. She has worked as a session musician for Anthrax, Disturbed and Russian Circles, as well as providing the opening act for Earth and Shellac shows. On paper this is a match made in heaven.
On record, the duo set about proving that this is absolutely true. This collection of songs are quiet yet powerful gothic ballads, delivered in such a way that they are as unnerving and suffocating as they are beautiful and emotive. Jarboe’s mournful vocals cling to the knife’s edge of Helen Money’s scythe-like cello playing in such a way that it’s difficult to discern that the two are completely separate entities.
There is something wickedly dark about the atmosphere conjured between these two and their chemistry is painfully apparent throughout. For all its complex charms there is also a wealth of simplicity that makes this record like dripping honey to listen to and all the more inviting and intoxicating for it. This would make a superb soundtrack to a film noir and is most certainly mood changing music. It would exciting to see what these two would come up with if tasked with creating a film score together.
(7.5/10 Angela Davey)