In an age of noisy, confident musicians, there’s something refreshing about the shadowy stillness of Sea Lion's debut LP Desolate Stars. Written and recorded alone in her bedroom, Gothenberg-native Linn Osterberg explores what it is to be an uncertain in an age of cultivated personae under cover of slow darkness: her distorted electric guitar melts into a watercolour wash, a piano plays like the ghost of a Leonard Cohen ballad, while the close-mic’d intimacy is as intimidating as Cat Power’s earliest records. Initially, it feels almost voyeuristic to listen, until the record's spellbinding aura drags you under.
The influence of Mazzy Star and Cat Power is palpable, and against grave, reverberating electric guitar, Osterberg’s idiosyncratic singing voice also calls to mind the watercolour folk pastorals of Drag City’s Jessica Pratt. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Osterberg writes and records in total solitude. Desolate Stars was made at home, which feels remarkable given its piercing clarity and consummate atmosphere. It is available now via Turnstile (Perfume Genius, Christopher Owens, Cate Le Bon et al).