Review: “Gift For The End,” by Mariee Sioux
Mariee Sioux makes gentle music that encapsulates the fierceness of the wild. Her latest album Gift for the End inspires the sensuous and provides instruction for returning to the earth and intimate realities of the animals. The first track titled “Homeopathic” is a perfect entryway to an album that cleans us with natural healing remedies and entrances us in melodies for the ride.
One of the most stunning aspects of Gift for the End is the visionary poetics of Mariee Sioux’s lyrics—the singsong cadences, refrains, fresh language, chant incantations, and truth telling encircles the heart with illuminated galaxies. Sioux knows about transformation. How a fawn can turn into a raven, creating the world. Her songs are sympathetic to the animals, insects, and trees, sensitive perspectives necessary to the survival of the planet.
Even if listeners don’t pay close attention to the messages in Sioux’s lyrics, they can still receive benediction thru the flying, seed-sowing, and animal sounds found throughout the album. Sioux’s style is acoustic folk—front porch dream roots blended with ethereal stargaze. Her sound is unique, but Gift to the Endbrings to mind other artists who are aware they arose from the sea and sand, like Death Vessel, Beachwood Sparks, and the Tallest Man on Earth.
A standout of Gift for the End is “Old Magic,” which describes a western world that’s replaced the old magic of cultures and creatures who live on the earth without destroying it for a world of plastic deer and tarps. This paradigm is articulated in the lines:
We ran through the mule shadows
Hand in hand sorrows in sorrows
Chased by plastic deer and tarp spirits
Tripping over tools and sleeping bullets
Years of dusty praying
You picked a pouch off of your dad’s tree
Poured it in my mouth to show me
How he’d saved all of your baby teeth
You said “Special fears they always win”
Like a river been robbed of its bend
A braid you just don’t want to end
Nature has been robbed like generations of dreams hanging from the tree of life, like a river that’s lost its bend because a dam flooded it, like forests replaced with coins, dead streams, bullet-riddled bodies and petroleum.
Mariee Sioux’s music is healing in how it parallels assaults against the earth with honoring the holy beauty of non-human creatures. The personifying of animals present in Sioux’s songwriting is a crucial truth. It leads the way for consciousness shifts in which our chants, poems, guitar playing and entering the bodies of fish & birds brings us back to reciprocal relationships and the ever present divine.
In giving voice to nature and envisioning the reclaiming of magic, Sioux’s music has the power to make sensual scenes from her songs arise in our surroundings. I saw a key hanging from a tree this morning.
As glaciers melt, fires burn, species go extinct, and numerous other human-led apocalyptic visions emerge, Sioux’s music is a prayer for the wild, a sincere gift for restoring a world where life is valued and protected, even as one sees a polluted horizon become nearer.
Mariee Sioux rebuilds the goddess rib by rib on Gift for the End and asks her to please take us back into her realm, we need her direly.
we can be forever blessed if we take the back roads. –mariee sioux
Review by Lisa Panepinto
Originally published on Cabildo Quarterly