So many of my favorite artists from Muruch’s early days have fallen away or ruined their signature sounds chasing musical trends, but not Alela Diane. Alela is reliable in releasing albums that fit perfectly in her oeuvre without stifling her artistic growth. Her new, fifth album, Cusp, is the perfect example. There’s no doubt you’re listening to an Alela Diane album, but its beauty and brilliance is still fresh and surprising.
Alela is one of the rare artists who always has something of substance to convey through her lyrics and never fails to do so in an eloquent, innovative, and exquisitely poetic way.
Cusp explores the theme of motherhood–its tribulations as much, if not more than, its joys–but, like the best poetry, each lyric can be interpreted and expanded far beyond the original intent.
The standout tracks are “Ether & Wood” and “Yellow Gold.”
“Ether & Wood” is a rumination on life and loss–from past relationships to mortality. She manages to compare visiting an old home to a newborn baby leaving the womb with the succinct, plaintive refrain “I don’t live there anymore.“
“Yellow & Gold” pairs Alela’s lovely voice with a melody that builds from a gentle piano melody into an otherworldly multi-instrumental folk symphony.
A decade ago, Alela Diane was one of the many “indie folk” artists that gave Muruch it’s brief reputation as a folk music blog. Now she truly stands in a class of her own.