Boomkat Product Review: BUY HERE: Cassette / DL

Laura Cannell makes a remarkable debut appearance as Hunteress with a suite of synth-pop, moonlit torchsongs and kosmische folk-pop chorales recorded at home in Suffolk, England, where she swapped her typical recorder and violin in favour of synths and vocals for a stunning, properly surprising entry to our Documenting Sound series. If yr feeling anything from Nite Jewel to Chromatics, Teresa Winter to Julia Holter, this one’s for you.

Best known as a freely improvising instrumentalist, Laura’s work – both solo and in collaboration with everyone from Rhodri Davies to Mark Fell and Polly Wright – is a regular source of wonder to our ears. Her 2019 album with Polly Wright, ’Sing As The Crow Flies’ was one of that year’s most charming discoveries, introducing Laura’s vocals for the first time in a suite of duets that channelled lost and forgotten voices of women from Norfolk’s rural sprawl and historic marshlands. Now recording as Hunteress, Laura’s vocals really come into their own on ‘The Unshackling’, playing off and around a newfound electronic palette that uncompromisingly expresses her sense of the ancient and arcane in a plaintive yet life-affirming and present manner that’s key to her music’s unique appeal.

Inspired by her nascent singing exercises in an Essex church with her friend, journalist and broadcaster Jennifer Lucy Allan, and further galvanised by her experience working with Polly Wright, Laura’s voice blossoms in remarkable and unpredictable ways across the 10 songs of ‘The Unshackling’. As fate would have it, we catch Laura at a real turning point, taking our commission to document her thoughts and feelings as the cue to conjure a mix of quietly spellbinding slow synth dervishes and achingly raw, crepuscular hymns. 

Interwoven with perfectly unpolished moments of panoramic beauty and a penetratively dark sense of mystery, the results are, we’re sure many of you will agree, pretty breathtaking – a rare source of heartfelt spiritual succour in these times.”