Corrina Repp – I Take On Your Days

Corrina Repp
I Take On Your Days

Almost as if Gillian Welch had grown up listening to Cat Power instead of the Carter Family, Corrina Repp channels a folkish simplicity through a more modern singer-songwriter filter. Only her second full-length release, the State Flowers guitarist is already one of the true indie rock luminaries of the Portland scene, rightfully earning a fine reputation for releasing albums of intense beauty when not lending a helping hand to the work of like-minded musicians.

Like labelmate Elisabeth Wood, Repp specializes in quiet solemnity, cataloguing failed relationships and similarly disappointing memories with a breathy croon and rhetorical musings. As the nature of these reflections are somewhat conflicted, seemingly compliant when proclaiming “I think of your mother, I think of your father, and I’m homesick after all” on the title track, then turning more defiant in proclaiming her incompatibility on “Opinion,” Repp still loses little in interpretation. Layering reverby guitar over a backdrop of acoustic guitar textures, Repp can occasionally bring to mind the more somber side of the Velvet Underground. As a versatile guitarist, Repp balances excellent finger-picked guitar with the occasional wave of dissonant guitar drones or keyboard flourish.

Rarely overtly tuneful, instead preferring to use an economy of notes and double-tracked vocals to perfectly complement her hushed phrasing, Repp’s unadorned aesthetic is the perfect vehicle for her delicate verse. The unstable cello of “Blues for the Unencouraged” and the spooky rolling classical guitar of “Upstairs, Outside” help close the set with humorless aplomb, though Repp eventually finds resolution when softly whispering, “I don’t need to be anyone’s friend” on “Let’s Call it the Truth,” seemingly summing up an album that travels a impressive distance in only 27 minutes with an unexpected sense of fulfillment.

As her vision is fairly insular and not altogether accessible, it’s doubtful that Repp will ever find a mass audience. Of course, it’s just as doubtful that she wants to, either. The rewards of her music are obvious at first listen, though its achingly endearing subtleties take considerably longer to uncover, potentially making it difficult for those looking for an immediate fix. While the ranks of thoughtful, slightly disillusioned singer-songwriters is in no immediate danger of going extinct, talents like Repp stand out among the sea of bodies floating in the tide.