Album Review: Mary Middlefield – Poetry (for the scorned and lonely)
Switzerland-based artist and songwriter Mary Middlefield is the one to watch in 2024. Her blend of dreamy and imaginative indie rock with disarmingly, sometimes brutally honest lyrics is hard to ignore.

The atmosphere of Mary's music is best desribed by the artist herself: "a dreamy nightmare". We would call it "comforting discomfort". This healing yet painful touch is all over Mary's new album "Poetry (for the scorned and lonely)". Let's dive deeper.

The first track "Sexless" takes no prisoners. The first line is like an explosion right in your face: "I haven't had sex in the past year". And then the shaky comfort comes: "Not as bad as it sounds". The music relies heavily on the dark and straightforward bass line. Adorned by dreamy guitars and intricate string touches, it's like a field of strange poisonous flowers blooming. You can't take your eyes off of the colours, but can't help thinking that the life force that fed them is capable of destruction.

Love can be like an ocean: cold, dark, deep and full of sharks and unseen mysterious monsters. That's the picture painted on "Atlantis". The artist dives into the abyss and makes friends with sharks. The murky waters are woven from transparent acoustic guitars, textural strings and hollow bass. However, the track seems to end with a glimmer of hope. We swim on.

"Heart's Desire" is a song about statutory rape. It is bitter, sad, intimate, vulnerable, riotous, gut-wrenching, warm... Yes, all of that at the same time. The singer bravely tells the story, aided by epic strings, washed out guitars and subdued drumming.

"Love me, Love me not?" is beautiful and fragile like a porcelain toy. Its acoustic guitar flowing freely like water, gentle pizzicato strings and Mary's intimate vocals are all shrouded in layers of warm reverberation.

"Young and Dumb" provides some contrast after this dreamy oasis. Deep pulsing bass, raging distorted guitars and abrasive melodic touches all express a deep pain that seeks relief and finds none.

"Last Letter" is another acoustic piece. The guitar arps bring to mind folk classics (think Paul Simon), but Mary's vulnerable vocals marked by pain that's hard to hide are not easy to compare with anyone. Her touch is unique, and it will stay with you forever.

"Poetry" that closes the album is bittersweet and it finally brings some relief. The track's textural backbone is full of seemingly dissonant undertones, but when they meld together, harmony, beauty and forgiveness come like windless and endless silence after a devastating storm.

Overall, the album is one of the bravest and most original records we've heard in 2024 so far. Its lyrical and emotinal openness are contrasted with intricate and nuanced production that feels like it leaves much to decipher and imagine. However, the most haunting thing about "Poetry (for the scorned and lonely)" seems to be Mary Middlefield's voice – beautiful, vulnerable, reserved and unforgettably bittersweet.