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Mariposa

Arroyo
Tiny Amp Records

With the new EP Arroyo, Mariposa has delivered an emotionally mature record with rich, expansive instrumentation. Although previous releases contained a great deal of sensitivity and beauty, those elements were locked away inside a fragile song structure. Now performing with a few new musicians, Madeline Johnston has blossomed, and her songs have taken on a more accessible form, carrying more energy while maintaining a quiet desperation that evokes the feeling of trying to crawl out of a deep sleep. "Oil Spills" is reminiscent of Joanna Newsom's "Sprout and the Bean" (without the elfish singing), while "Wash" could almost be mistaken for a Norah Jones track — albeit darker and more melancholic than anything the family-friendly Jones would do. On "We Carry a Weight," there's an undertow of anxiety to the music, with a Japanese-style instrumental toward the end that doesn't rescue listeners from sadness, but rather reminds them how beautiful sadness can be.

 
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