In this album, written half in Paris where the singer lives and half in the small town in Northern California where she grew up, the timbre of Brisa Roché reveals itself more bewitching than ever. She inscribes herself in the line of great folk singers of the 60’s such as Karen Dalton or Vashti Bunyan and artists today like Alela Diane, shaman-singers, daughters of water and fire, capable of reviving the dead and reminding us of family operas, passion and the passing of seasons.
As its title indicates, Father is an out-of-the-ordinary project. In it Brisa Roché sings the immense, impossible quasi-incestuous love she lived, as a child and teen in Northern California, for her father (who died when she was 16), a dealer who recited poetry and lived at a hundred miles per hour, a charismatic and sulphurous adventurer, a man of endless conquests.
Far from being too personal or too centered around the artist’s own story, these songs reveal themselves to be universal, exploring all facets of love: longing, fascination, sadness, seduction, the desire to save the beloved. Songs everyone can see themselves in. And in them Brisa plays all roles: the tearful child seeking to hold her wildfire of a father back from death (the poignant Trying to control and Carnation), the role of a mother/wife (the marvelous Patience), or even the role of the unsettling dealers surrounding her pater (Holy Badness and its powerful refrain like an impious canticle).
Each sketch takes us further, into cabins lost in the forest (48) or onto backseats of cars parked in front of liquor stores, as Brisa Roché proves herself an accomplished songwriter, capable of the most beautiful texts, stories magnified by the work of John Parish. We rediscover the spare, pure production that is the signature style of the English musician: folk chords rough as old pieces of wood, strident electric guitar riffs (Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs lent a strong hand), a few epic bass drum hits… Midnight full of Nature’s rustling, where rises the lustral voice of the Inconsolable.
If Dean Moriarty, the hero of On the Road, by Kerouac, had had a daughter, SHE would have recorded this album. Curled in the back of the Buick, criss-crossing America she would have scribbled these lyrics while watching the tanned neck of her “badass” father. In the career of every artist, there’s a piece of work that brings us into the depths of his/her heart, into its internal womb, where is crafted the need for expression, the very desire to sing. “Father” is of this kind. We are the closest one can get to lava. And, fuck, how it burns.