The connection between Ethel Cain and music is almost as complex as her relationship to God. Influenced by her limiting childhood in a remote Southern Baptist group, the singer Hayden Anhed ö retd, Originally founded in Tallahassee but now based in Alabama, created her stage persona for her success EP, 2021 Inbred. In its music, she provided herself as some kind of American romantic, with a panache for dark writing about gender vs. Aggressive afferents. A Breakup between lovely people, contemporary pop and bertil, gothic ballad, the EP left uncertain whether Cain, whereupon 23, was set out for revival fame or true fame. At times, like the starting music “Michelle Pfeiffer” she was championing overall TikTok intensity; at others she heard as though she might flee forever back into the woods.
Like Inbreds, Preacher’s Daughter, Cain’s full-length breakthrough, locations its funniest music cannon up side. With its heartland-rock glamour and shining guitarists, “American Teenager” 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 Teenagers” didn’t effectively incorporate the album’s themes — disillusioned youth, hard to live if, and misguided concept — it’ d be a complete fakeout.
Preacher’s Daughter lightens and some of Ethel Cain’s extra transgression, comforting a character that Anhed is first conceived as a cult leader. Now he’s more of a sad heroin addiction in a cursed love. 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 containing parents injuries. Cain originally conceived the album as a script; the finished film would probably have had the overtones of David Lynch’s “Willow 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 tones. On the roots – music, “Hard Times” and “Thoroughfare” her tone circle with the stellar precision of Natalie Merchant. Not all that often, tho, it is doused in smoke or angry with scorn. In the industrial shocks “Ptolemaea” the record’s single descendance into haunting violence, she pauses to start the music with an agony howl as any tragedy filmmaker evoked. Cain frequently affects to erupt, but “Ptolemaea” is one of the few deeply admired. Preacher’s Daughter takes delight in a few extra fresh delights; too often the ghost, churchy atmosphere drops into a consistent ischaemia. Here’s a separation between Cain’s controversial public image and the tight poise of such music, which seldom felt the way Inbred’s did. The album’s length performs against it, very. Cain narrowed the history flat from what she had arranged to become a two-plus-hour amazing movie, and at times she sounds like he’s composing to end the watch. The album buckles under The mass 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 wonder if the fire would be even nonetheless lit.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this analysis measured the album’s time complexity as 90 minutes, not 76. .