Claire Rousay has announced her debut Thrill Jockey album sentiment, out on April 19th. sentiment is a meditation of the poignant emotional terrains of loneliness, nostalgia, sentimentality, guilt, and sex. The album’s narrative arc is guided by delicate musical gestures and artistic vulnerability, audaciously synthesizing disparate and unexpected influences. Rousay crafted the songs in various homes, bedrooms, hotels, and other private places, the feeling of time and energy spent alone radiating from each passage. The album is a collection of heart-rending, incisive pop songs that explore universal feelings with subtlety and remarkable vision.
Along with the album’s announcement, Rousay has shared the first two singles “head” and “ily2 (feat. Hand Habits)”. “head” blossoms with a stately guitar figure and fragile strings punctuated by an emotional and percussive gut-punch that borrows from slowcore, Rousay lamenting and offering penance for problems before they happen with “Spending half of my whole life giving you head / just in case you need to forgive me / one day for something that i did”.” Album closer “ily2 (feat. Hand Habits),” available exclusively via NPR’s All Songs Considered, is emblematic of the ever-shifting blend of musical aesthetics Rousay employs across the album, her ostinato acoustic guitar figures and signature auto-tuned voice accompanied by layers of slow-motion strings, and a constellation of subtle melodic gestures.
Rousay has also announced an international tour in support of sentiment throughout the Spring, including sets at Big Ears Festival and Long Play Festival.
Sentiment balances the poetic soul of her influences with a documentarian heart, Rousay capturing moments of her life while living alone in houses across the country, learning to play guitar, and reconnecting with pop music. “I have been on a quest to communicate my feelings and ideas as clearly as possible lately. Pop seemed like the way to do that this time,” says Rousay. The confessional nature of sampled fragments of conversation give her pieces a specificity and sense of intimacy that is both immediate and curious. Rousay’s innate ability to conjure pure feeling from sound derives from her delightful embrace of pop forms, the vulnerability found in field recordings, minimalistic arrangements and innovative sound choices. The resulting songs of sentiment are as anthemic as they are breathtakingly personal. sentiment is blissfully, achingly melancholic, and an undeniably sensual listening experience.