Rebekka Karijord – Mother Tongue (4 stars)

Rebekka Karijord – Mother Tongue

A fiercely honest document of one woman's experience of motherhood

The change that you often experience when becoming a mother is not just visible in the day-to-day variation in routine and habits; it can consist of a total emotional metamorphosis in which the very reason for being shifts. Mother Tongue is an album that documents Rebekka Karijord's journey of motherhood, from the pain and heartache of almost losing her daughter to the strength and courage required to survive such a traumatic period. The album lifts Karijord to new territory, remaining in line with the modest instrumentation and minimalist textures of previous album We Become Ourselves, but thematically broaching new ground with fierce honesty.

There's a sense of repetition and pattern throughout the album, which appears to mimic the act of breathing, as on opener 'Morula'. The arpeggio pattern that accompanies the breathy vocal line is reiterated continuously, signalling survival; a common motif. This is also apparent in the steady percussion of 'Stones', which ebbs and flows alongside the main melody.

Elsewhere on the album, there's the jaunty and energetic 'The Orbit', with percussive handclaps and harmonies expressing a sense of jubilation. Similarly, 'Six Careful Hands' has a nervous excitement surrounding it, with the lyrics 'light as a feather' echoed multiple times as if to emphasise amazement or disbelief.

Though the landscape of the album is shrouded in beauty and emotion, the element that truly gives it depth is Karijord's voice, which is occasionally made the central component of the musical arrangements. 'Your Name' is an example of this, where the simple piano and synth chords shadow the vocals, enabling her voice to rise to a melismatic climax. Closing track 'Mausoleum' also explores the interplay between harmony, in a mostly unaccompanied choral ode to the album's main subject; motherhood. But Mother Tongue is not just about one experience, it's also a sentimental look at what it means to suffer, and in turn cope, with the common and more unconventional hurdles of life.

Out Fri 27 Jan on Control Freak Kitten.

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