Sumie: Lost in Light review – oddly beautiful but wilfully wan

(Bella Union)

Swedish singer-songwriter Sumie Nagano (sister of Little Dragon frontwoman Yukimi) seemingly paints only in watercolour. Her second album tries to don the weeds of gothic Americana for a darker tone than the pale folk of her eponymous debut, yet remains washed out, like an overexposed negative: oddly beautiful but wilfully wan. From the Mazzy Star-lite reverbed strums and detached vocals of Fortune and the spectral saloon torch song of the mild west that is Night Rain to the soft country melancholy of Walk Away, with its faintest breath of brass, one song drifts ghostlike into another, leaving little lasting impression other than a vague, pretty sadness.

Watch the video for Leave Me by Sumie.


Emily Mackay

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
caroline review – a heady, up-close gig for our fractured times
The south London band’s mix of loud-quiet folk-rock and drone instrumentals is transformed live into a bewitching exercise in musical brinkmanship

Kitty Empire

09, Apr, 2022 @1:00 PM

Article image
Woods: Love Is Love review – defiant American optimism
The band’s response to the election of Donald Trump is stubbornly forward-looking and upbeat

Damien Morris

23, Apr, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: I Made a Place review – older, wiser and happier

Kitty Empire

17, Nov, 2019 @9:00 AM

Article image
Bonny Light Horseman: Rolling Golden Holy review – new old-style songs from Anaïs Mitchell and co
The American folk trio’s second album keeps tradition alive not with covers but with 10 newly minted originals

Kitty Empire

09, Oct, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Gillian Welch: Boots No 2: The Lost Songs, Vol 3 review – more riches after the flood
This final instalment of unpublished gems from Welch and David Rawlings doesn’t disappoint

Kitty Empire

15, Nov, 2020 @9:00 AM

Sumie: Sumie – review

Sumie's solo voice and acoustic guitar combine to create a delicate, appealing but one-paced debut, says Phil Mongredien

Phil Mongredien

01, Dec, 2013 @12:04 AM

Article image
Conor Oberst: Salutations review – sprawling companion to Ruminations

Phil Mongredien

19, Mar, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Joan Shelley: The Spur review – timeless and vital Americana
Pretty but unsentimental reflections on putting down roots inform the singer-songwriter’s elegant seventh album

Kitty Empire

26, Jun, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Henry Jamison: The Wilds review – an unshowy, literate gem

Kitty Empire

29, Oct, 2017 @9:00 AM

Article image
The Willows: Through the Wild review – polished Anglo-Americana folk
(Elk Records)

Neil Spencer

23, Dec, 2018 @8:00 AM