A thought: In the underground rock world, the sound of a violin is a kind of musical equivalent to small-batch chocolate — versatile and rich, yet easy to abuse. There are beautiful sounds that it can make; there are also harsh ones, and hackneyed ones. Sometimes its sounds can nod in the direction of something expansive and beautiful, and sometimes it can be used for easy sentimentality. (See also: the pedal steel guitar.) Warren Ellis — The Dirty Three/Bad Seeds member, not the writer —knows this well; the best of the music he’s made (and there’s a lot of it) aims for a hard-won beauty that stands in the face of sounds more discordant.
Listening to Oblivion Songs, the debut from US Christmas’ Meghan Mulhearn, it’s clear that she’s working in similar territory. Consider the title of the EP as a whole; also consider the fact that the songs on here include “Hymn” and “The Prayer.” This is an ambitious work, but it’s largely successful.