The connection between Ethel Cain and music is almost as complex as her relationship to God. Influenced by her childhood in a remote Southern Baptist group, the singer Hayden Anhed ö retd, founded in Tallahassee but now based in Alabama, created her stage persona for her success EP, 2021’s Inbred. In its music, she provided herself as some kind of American romantic, with a panache for dark writing about gender and aggressive afferents. Breakup between lovely, contemporary pop and literary, gothic ballad, the EP left uncertain whether Cain, whereupon 23, was setup out for revival fame or true fame. At times, there are just, like the initial music “Michelle Pfeiffer” she was championing overall TikTok intensity; at others she heard as though she might have fled forever back into the woods.
Like Inbred, The Preacher’s Daughter, Cain’s full-length breakthrough, locations funniest music cannon up side. With its heartland-rock glamour and shining guitarists, “American Teenagers” music like something off Taylor Swift’s Speak Now, a smell and the kind of mass-appeal music Cain could create if she chose to commit to that road. The rest of The history, tho, it’s clear she has no value inside. For the bulk of the album’s dreamy 76 minutes, she turns her back on music for swirling darkness and burning Americana. If “American Teenager” wasn’t sure how effectively it effectively incorporated the album’s themes — disillusioned youth, hard to live with), and misguided concept — it’ d be a complete fakeout.
Preacher’s Daughter lightens up and some of Ethel Cain’s extra transgressive sides, comforting a character that Anhed ö ret first conceived as a cult leader. Now, he’s more of a sad heroin addict in a cursed relationship. The torch “Western Nights” loosely explains a narrative involving a woman and her Harley-riding brother crossing state lines, on the move from their history, but still with parents injury. Cain originally conceived the album as a script; the finished film would probably have had the overtones of David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart”. It could all be a little newer if Lana Del Rey hadn’t now mined these hero themes thoroughly.
The history is moved like draining wax, with all of its music gushing over pop’s clean sprinting times. This leaves plenty of time to indulge in Cain’s incredible tone. On the Roots music, “Hard Times” and “Thoroughfare” her tone circled with the stellar precision of Natalie Merchant. Just not all that often, tho, it’s doused in smoke or furious with scorn. On the industrial shock “Ptolemaea” the record’s single descent into haunting violence, she pauses to start the music with an agony howl of the tragedy with which any filmmaker would want emotion. Cain music frequently cause eruptural sound, but “Ptolemaea” is one of the few still deeply ingrained and highly regarded. Preacher’s Daughter will delight in a few extra fresh delights; too often the ghost, churchy atmosphere drops into a consistent ischaemia. T Here’s a separation between Cain’s controversial public image and the tight poise of such music, which seldom swooned as Inbred did. The album’s length also performs against it, highly recommend any one. Cain narrowed the history flat to what she arranged to become a two-plus-hour aproposing, and at times she sounds like he’s composing to expire the watch. The album buckles under The weight of its numerous seven-minute music, one of which blunts the effect of its next. As interesting As Cain’s mood setting can be, Preacher’s Daughter is such a slow burn you occasionally question if the fire would be even lit nonetheless.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this analysis measured the album’s time complexity as 90 minutes, not 76. .