Boomkat Product Review:
Now on her fourth solo album, Marissa Nadler returns with a more open sound, assisted by richer arrangements and instrumentation that reframes her spectral, haunting voice. The reverb that cloaks Nadler's voice remains in check but here, more than ever before, you get the impression that she's not hiding behind the effect anymore. There's a real confidence and strength in her vocal performance during opener 'Heartpaper Lover', an unfussily recorded piece that firmly reminds you of how sharp and memorable Nadler's songwriting can be at its best. Even when she does crank that echodeck, as on 'Loner', the frailty and reticence of old is gone, replaced instead by a scary 2/4 madwoman-in-the-attic shriek, complete with Carnival Of Souls organ. Another revelation comes when Nadler teams up with a full backing band, dabbling in the ethereal goth-country of 'Mistress', complete with howling pedal steel and jangling electric guitar. More than ever Nadler's music recalls Mazzy Star, albeit in a parallel universe where Hope Sandoval spent more time hanging about in crypts reading Edgar Allen Poe... Little Hells yields a stronger, more fully realised set of recordings than Nadler's first three albums, and Nadler's mournful, phantasmagorical songwriting is as powerful as ever.