BY SAMMI HSU
Nataly Dawn is a force to be reckoned with. Best known as one half of indie duo Pomplamoose, Dawn released her first solo record How I Know Her in early 2013 and is now back at it with the release of her sophomore album Haze. The album seems to place emphasis on past lovers -- the kind that isn’t limited to just romantic love. Dawn does an absolutely beautiful job of combining her quirky take on indie folk and pop with the dominating theme of lost love.
Haze kicks off with “I Could Lose” and of course, the title track “Haze.” “I Could Lose” is a standout on the record; it’s incredibly raw and authentic, where Dawn sings about how “I could lose everything / and I probably will.” Both tracks have a folk vibe reminiscent of Daughter, and a melancholic hint of Sufjan Stevens-esque instrumentals.
My personal favorite song off of the record, “Orchid,” follows and acts as the album’s transition from indie folk to indie pop, stylistically alluding to Regina Spektor and Karen O. The indie pop vibes don’t stop there; in fact, it’s what helps paves the path for Haze’s overall coherency. It’s what allows the album to step out of the box as something more than another mediocre indie folk record, and it shows heavily in “The Audience,” “For The Record,” “Call Your Love,” and “Waiting Room.”
Dawn slows things down with a few more hints of melancholy in “Maybe If” and “Old Friend.” Both tracks explore a different side of love in intricate ways. “Maybe If” is an ode to a shattered relationship between Dawn and her father, as the final verse sings, “A daughter always makes amends to earn her father’s love / but I don’t think so.” On the other hand, “Old Friend” is a desolate goodbye to a fading friendship.
The album ends the same as it began; with an authentically raw indie folk song that places emphasis on solely string instrumentals and Dawn’s voice. The closing track “Amen” discusses an inadequate relationship, where the final verse preaches, “You’re easier to love from afar / I erased all the parts / that don’t add up to be who you are.”
At first glance, Haze seems like another coffeehouse indie record perfect for a rainy day. However, digging deeper, it has a life completely of it’s own; something we rarely see in music nowadays. Each song tells a story that complements the theme of showing the not-so-pretty side of love, whether it’d be revenge, fading friendships and lovers, or the “kind of love [that] could shove [you] off a cliff,” you’ll find a song about it on this album.