For the first week of fall, Chelsea Wolfe’s brand of stormy art-folk provides a smoky breeze of a soundtrack like autumn leaves strewn across a velvet duvet. Sultry harmonies accompanied by bass drum and snare escape dirge classification, barely, thanks to a sexy edge. True Blood might license her track “The Way We Used To” for a flashback of Sooky and Eric’s meeting in the forest at midnight. If a combination of PJ Harvey and Chrissie Hynd inspired a character in a popular vampire series, Chelsea Wolfe would be that sepia-tinged musical heroine.
The artist from Northern California honors acoustic traditions on her new album, Unknown Rooms, after more electronic leanings on the past two records. With previous song titles like “Demons” and “Cousins of the Antichrist,” a visitor to Wolfe’s Youtube listings won’t be surprised to see goth makeup and dark imagery. Reinvention is a blessing as torchy retro replaces Trent Reznor accents on new tracks. Meeting the artist as she embraces echo chamber vocals over minimal strings feels fortunate. Here, aching melody is allowed free reign with introspective tales of haunting loss.
Dissonant longing adds a pinch of spice to any autumn play list. The artist should go well with any pre-Halloween festivities, or a solemn walk through Central Park in closed-toe heels.