Cornelia Murr, “Lake Tear of the Clouds”
Lake Tear of the Clouds
The shimmering, pastel languor of Cornelia Murr’s debut evokes an atmosphere not unlike Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides or Lost in Translation; there’s even a track called “Tokyo Kyoto,” and Murr herself wouldn’t look out of place alongside a Dunst or a Johansson. Inspired by her time in the pastoral paradise of upstate New York (Murr now lives in California), Lake Tear of the Clouds was produced by My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James and includes contributions from Murr’s close friend/frequent collaborator Lola Kirke and MMJ keyboardist Bo Koster.
The whole thing skims lazily over fields of grass, Murr’s voice aloft on the breeze—a little Beach House–dream pop (but more in focus) mixed with the celestial dizziness of the Cocteau Twins. Lake Tear of the Clouds is full of verdant soundscapes and summer noises, from the lazy whistling on opener “Different This Time” and closer “You Got Me,” to the rush of synthesizer vibration mimicking an Adirondack warm-month staple on “Cicada.”
In the album’s lackadaisical lead single “Man on My Mind,” Murr considers the disappointing disconnect between fantasy and reality, musing on a guy she doesn’t know well but daydreams about liberally, admitting, “I projected onto you / My own colorful reel.” Later, in the quiet strum of a minimal “You Got Me,” she lays her affection-craving nature bare: “How are you so steady? / Oh right, you never drink the punch at anybody’s party / Well me, I’ll drink most anything offered to me.” Weaker is Murr’s cover of Yoko Ono’s “I Have a Woman Inside My Soul”: She’s less confident regurgitating Ono’s feminine uncertainty than on her own stuff, her golden voice overwhelmed, at times, by a swelling backing guitar.
Standout “Tokyo Kyoto” is a melancholy love song to a baby Murr didn’t end up having; she was traveling in Japan while with child, but later terminated the pregnancy. “I’m sending you off with love in this song / You won’t be joining in this race,” she sweetly sings, and it doesn’t sound as though she regrets her decision, despite the sadness behind it. With a Roe v. Wade debate brewing in light of Trump’s new Supreme Court pick, this unapologetic track in particular holds a powerful resonance.