Spanish singer Joana Serrat recorded her third album in Texas, near the town of Dripping Springs which gives the record its name. On this album she worked with producer Israel Nash who praised her ‘brilliant’ lyrics and the ease of the recording process where ‘her voice was our guide’. Joana has recently played AmericanaFest, as well as opening for the likes of Courtney Marie Andrews, and this album proves she is an intriguing talent whose work deserves attention.
Opener Western Cold Wind establishes the doom country atmosphere of the whole album – expansive Americana music that does kind of feel like you’re listening outside in the twilight after a tornado. The vocals have an unusual quality to them and maybe it’s because of Serrat’s strangely morphing accent, which sometimes sounds like Hope Sandoval or a softer Lana Del Rey, other times I even heard echoes of Kurt Vile.
Lost Battles is perfect indie folk, the soundtrack to a walk across the desert chasing the shadows of a lost love. Trapped in the Fog is probably the best song on the album, using pedal steel to create a warm sixties pop feel. Her voice stretches to its top and the guitars perfectly compliment her voice.
Much of the album is about leaving and letting go. Farewell is a waltz, a goodbye that lingers in the memory. There’s an eerie quality to the melancholy melody and the way the song just fades away to nothing. I like these songs best when, like Juanita Stein’s album, they uses that Western shoot out guitar sound. Shadows of Time does this well and Candles too, albeit at a slower pace.
On Come Closer the vocals are more prominent and this clarity suits the love song, about heading out on the road with your sweetheart. The Garden has folk in its influences, kind of like Joni Mitchell if she liked the pedal steel more. This album uses that instrument to haunting perfection throughout, especially on Walk in Sin. A final hazy swirl of instruments finishes the album, and we Keep on Fallin’ in love with the music right to the end.
Dripping Springs is an atmospheric wonder of dreamy delights, slightly amorphous at times but intentionally so. Listening to Joana Serrat is like a sunset in the desert coming to life – there’s bewitching natural beauty in every song.