In a forgotten field in the Western part of France where thousands fled and hid from the Nazi’s Vanessa Anne Redd birthed her latest debut album. ‘Behind the Wall’ is Redd’s first solo album after breaking away from her band Six Years. The LP focuses on love, relationships, death and the invisible strings that bind all of them together.
Each song takes you on a journey, filled with an aching voice and purposeful wordplay that leaves you contemplating what you just heard. Redd’s wordplay is particularly poignant in the song ‘Boomerang’. A direct and almost anguished promise to her pervious bandmate, “I never want you to think I’ve turned my back on you. That will be something that I’d never do. We can stay stuck together or blown apart.”
During Redd’s stay at Limoges in France it is easy to hear the influence it had on her song ‘Twilight.’ The stripped back soundscapes and Redd’s raw and throaty voice add a more organic sound to the song. Like an old friend she reminds us to not forget how fleeting and short life can be. The invisible string that is easy to forget. “I share the calendar with the days arranged, each one marking off another to my grave.”
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But the most memorable and chilling song on the LP has to be ‘Beast.’ The song takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions accompanied with haunting guitar play. It focuses on the inescapable nature of human darkness and the hope that can prevail when love comes in the picture. “Whisper into my ear your beast as we meet, rage encased inside we greet as we keep colliding. Show me the way so your beast can heal and we will break both venoms down.”
Redd lays her heart bare through each track making the LP generally heavy on serious topics that you start to worry there will be no banging beats to keep you engaged. But it’s not all gloom and sadness.
‘Escape’ focuses on independence and paving out your own place in the world. The infectious beat and rock ‘n’ roll vibe to the song will leave you wanting to bob you head up and down. Making you feel like you really where running as Redd recites, “I am running, I am running, I am running.” But even her lighter songs are still laced with dark undertones.
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‘Behind the Wall,’ is the next song on the album and unlike Donald Trump’s controversial wall Redd speaks of a more emotional wall. “Fighting with conscious hid by night you build your walls sick with hurt. And past the cracks where you have been burnt, take this and turn it over.” As the violin sheds a beautiful but sad tune near the end, Redd subtly leads us to the invisible string of ‘hurt’ that lets us stay ‘Behind the Wall.’
But ‘Proof’ the final song on the album is perhaps the most ambiguous song on the album. Inspired by Duane Michals photo of a couple sleeping on a bed. “The future is never certain but I will, I will remember this cause this is proof.” You can’t help but feel like the song questions what proofs our existence but the open ended nature of the song allows you to draw your own answer, and in many ways it makes the song more meaningful and memorable.
The ongoing fluidity of other songs on the album such as Drona Sticks, Invisible Strings, Borderlands and the Roads that Drive Us are each driven by Redd’s savage lyricism. Each song pulls on the invisible string of life and the unpredictable path it leads and teaches us on.