Chastity Brown: Magic And Loss

Chastity Brown does dark on her new album

The songs on Silhouette Of Sirens (Red House), Chastity Brown’s latest album, are delivered with a quiet force that makes the emotions she’s singing about come to vibrant life. She deals honestly with many aspects of lost love, looking at them with a poet’s sympathetic eye.

“I was in a dark place for part of the time I was writing these songs,” she says. “When you go through some heavy shit, it gives you empathy for other people’s stories, so I drew on the experiences of many people for these songs. Still, there’s a personal element to them that feels very vulnerable. The words are simple, but the way I’m singing is very broken. I wanted to explore different types of heartbreak, because there’s more to that experience than someone leaving and someone being left. Am I singing about losing my father, my lover or my own sense of self? When you’re disconnected from what matters, you need someone who loves you to jar you back into reality. I try to do that for myself in these songs, in hopes that it will do the same for the others who listen.”

Brown recorded most of the record in four days, playing with musicians who have backed her on tour, as well as on local dates in her hometown of Minneapolis. The band’s bright, wide-open sound makes a startling contrast to the intimate lyrics and Brown’s confessional vocals. “I like that big, bouncy electric-guitar sound,” says Brown. “I wanted to capture the interaction of a live show, the way I respond to the band and the way they respond to me. I didn’t have the intention of creating a specific sound, but I wanted a lot of atmosphere and a lot of different colors in the music.”

—j. poet