Clara Strauch’s artistic journey began as uniformly as any other young folk’s set on a dream might—couch-surfing. That time spent honing in on her craft between homes has done her well, though, and we are just now being able to see it all come full circle with the 25 May release of her debut LP, Persephone. Written and developed over the course of three years, Strauch’s first collection of studio-recorded songs pursue soulful, wintry music reminiscent of the work of such powerful songwriters as Regina Spektor and Lucy Rose.
In many ways, the themes you will encounter on Persephone are reminiscent of the journey Strauch took to bring it to us. Tinkering with darker shades of evanescence and apprehension, Strauch wraps her warm voice around indelible folk melodies that weave heartbreaking tales of loss. With every cloud, though, there is indeed a silver lining, and Strauch insists on reminding us of this as the album reaches its crescendo. It’s a full-bodied collection of gorgeous, meditative arrangements that take us on a slice of life’s overall journey, painting moments of heartache that inevitably give way an enlivened, heartened place by our adventure’s end.
Raw, vivid, orchestral, and emotional, Strauch’s Persephone is a look back on the hints of light and darkness that, together, make up what it means to be human. It releases on 25 May.
Strauch tells PopMatters, “I chose the myth of Persephone as a title for this album after all the songs were already written, because it helped me finally make sense of it all. I had spent years stuck in a trancelike pattern of backing-and-forthing, both geographically and emotionally, that I really didn’t have to stay in, because (to quote my own song) “Oh Persephone, it’s so hard to see that it’s only your beliefs that keep you beneath.” So. This album is a story of shifting beliefs. It’s loss, letting go, metamorphosis, breaking a pattern, a sort of pupation, dealing with the shit — the weeds — and what’s underneath the surface. A journey from fear to love, darkness to light, winter to summer, and from feeling stuck to free.”