The British musician Tirzah constructs hushed songs that echo regardless. Across a handful of releases — an excellent string of EPs followed by her 2018 debut Devotion — the singer born Tirzah Mastin, alongside her longtime collaborators Mica Levi and Coby Sey, unfurl emotions with the patience and care of a gardener. What blossoms is often unexpected. Tirzah’s music comes as close as any to grasping that intangible buzzword, “vibes.” Lyrically, she’s careful never to say too much. Sparse and disjointed phrases become declarations that you’d swear were common knowledge (“Feels like it’s raining, super soaks” she sings on Devotion’s “Gladly”). The music gestures intently towards a feeling, and leaves the listener to figure out what exactly that feeling is. Levi’s production, often atmospheric, lush, and dense all at once, manages to bring Tirzah’s songwriting into your subconscious.
Take the drums on her new single “Send Me,” which march like a funeral procession and function to usher Tirzah’s careful pleas into a private corner of your mind. The song is about the singer coming into her own as a mother. She recently gave birth to her second child, and the lyrics contend with discovering a new well of love within yourself. “Let me heal and now I’m sure,” she hymns repeatedly. By the track’s end, as its minimal drum loop stutters into silence, we’re left with bleeding guitars that, rather than disrupt, blend with the song’s vulnerable core to bring it all home. Tirzah hasn’t released any new music since 2018, but here manages to connect with a nascent concern of 2021. As the pandemic wanes and we confront the world, “Send Me” resonates. It’s hard to overstate the scale of interpersonal transformation wrought by a year of isolation, but in her gentle croons (“Send me sunbeam/Call me sunbeam,” she sings) Tirzah grasps for something close to rebirth. We’re lucky to get a chance to listen.
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