weightedmindcoverWeighted Mind
Sierra Hull

★★★☆

An album of introspection by a prodigy that plays well, Weighted Mind’s complications buoy and sink it simultaneously.

 

 

 

 

The muted strums on “Queen of Hearts Royal Tea” that lead into the mandolin solo are the heart of Weighted Mind; forceful absences, technical displays that aren’t wrapped in technicity. They are a part of the song as a whole but are brought weight by what they anticipate, rather than any explicit change. They are — and Weighted Mind is — a sort of suspended potential, a repudiation that never quite finds itself a ground.

If those strums are the heart, then the interpolation of the Happy Birthday song into Hull’s “Birthday” is the head; Hull plays just enough of the Public Domain tune to remind, and immediately moves away from it. The personal reference is Cobain playing the notes from “Silent Night” at the opening of the noise guitar solo of “the ‘priest’ they called him” with William S. Burroughs, and there’s more in common there than it might seem at first. They come from opposite places though; Cobain was assumed to be a writer and singer who also played guitar, while Hull is obviously the mandolin prodigy that has opted to sing.

And on a surface level, this reading of Hull rings true across Weighted Mind. Her songwriting is good, but there’s nothing particularly special about it. It all tends to run together, in a way that the kind of introspection she is engaged in both tends to and absolutely requires something else. And that something else is there, in the palm-muted moments.

Weighted Mind is an album against itself, in the most beautiful way. And I hate that it doesn’t move past that, and I love it for being that.