Grouper: Shade

Daniel Bromfield at Pitchfork:

Liz Harris always seems to be telling us a secret. The catch—and the thing that makes her music as Grouper so fascinating—is we’re never sure what. Titles like “Thanksgiving Song” and “The Man Who Died in His Boat” hint that she’s letting us in on specific moments and memories, but the lyrics lean toward abstraction, and that’s when you can make them out from behind a thick wall of reverb. From 2014’s Ruins onward, Harris has scrubbed away much of the grit from her sound, and it’s been a thrill to watch her music hint at candor before ducking back into the shadows where it thrives. Shade takes this knife’s-edge balance between intimacy and inscrutability to the extreme.

Many of Shade’s nine tracks feel like experiments in how much Harris can remove from her music while retaining its essential mystery. The album’s most notable development is to present her voice and acoustic guitar largely unadorned. The setting is so spare we can hear the buzz of the room and the squeak of her fingers on the frets.

more here.