By ELI JACE >
Fog Area, by Anne Malin is here to gut your winter.
Somewhere in the depths of the Renaissance backwoods you might find the Fog Area, or it could be offroad in a Massachusetts forest preserve, or possibly, a place only accessible after listening through the new album by Anne Malin.
Out of South Bend, Indiana Anne Malin makes music that could top a category called creep-folk. The voice and namesake, Anne Malin Ringwalt, also plays acoustic guitar and autoharp. She is joined by William Ellis Johnson who plays guitars, organ, synths and also mixed Fog Area. When released October 12, the album will be the duo’s fourth full-length in the past two years.
“When Flesh is Enough” gently pushes Fog Area on an electric lake with a frog somewhere ribbitting.
The voice, Anne Malin, reads a poem of haunts introducing the listener to the Fog Area. Wherever the Fog Area is, the only guiding principle through may be Malin’s voice. She presides over these nine songs like a witch dragged in to the altar. She’s calm with her vocal expression, but always leering with anguished melodies; free like Vashti Bunyan, but with a deeper register and a forested uncertainty.
The trance comes on like a flash flood and feels disorienting like chasing a cat through an alleyway in moonlight with any idea why. The rising tide of sustained organ and Malin’s voice can draw quick similarities to Beach House, but with much worse intentions and less feel-good haze.
Startled whisperings dance around the short jabbing notes of an acoustic guitar and cheap white noise on “Bend.” Malin hums as she slices her autoharp on “Song of the Siren.” “Move Us” assails the listener with low-breathing space drone oscillating around Malin. “We build sanctuaries,” she yowls, “We build battleships woven out of leaves.”
Fog Area concludes with three beautiful ballads, “Endless Road,” “Chance Creek,” and “All Will Be,” each one sadder than the one before it.
Malin displays her range emotionally and musically finding ways to thread between Johnson’s mellow guitar handiwork plucking and strumming with soft, resolute finesse. The two work in consort most effectively on this final third. The bedroom recording, “All Will Be,” plays out Fog Area with its more straightforward message and tone. “Am I your queen?” Malin asks with strained hopefulness. “I never wanted anything more than you unending.”