Oceans flow through the center of Cinder Well’s music and ‘Cadence’, the new album from Amelia Baker’s experimental folk project,drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where she grew up, and the wind-torn swells of Western Ireland that she’s come to love.
Written soon after the release of 2020’s acclaimed ‘No Summer’, Baker returned to her hometown in central California to record at Harlan Steinberger’s nearby Hen House Studios in Venice Beach. Inspired by this new setting, Baker expanded Cinder Well’s sound to include percussion, provided by her old friend Phillip Rogers (Haley Heynderickx), as well as trance electric guitar and expansive string parts courtesy of Cormac MacDiarmada (Lankum). The doom folk and traditional Irish influences of ‘No Summer’ are still present but often give way to a more optimistic and relaxed atmosphere that nods to LA’s mythical Laurel Canyon years. Across nine epic tracks, Baker treads a sonic and lyrical path between the two coastal towns she calls home, her transcendental voice given new wings by the record’s sweeping arrangements. “Overgrown” is the first major key Cinder Well song in nearly a decade while the uneasy and pulsating title track is a love letter to the self for our darkest days. Fittingly, Baker opens ‘Cadence’ with a song about selkies–seals that turn human on land. More than just a bit of folklore, shapeshifting selkies are a metaphor for Baker herself: a songwriter tied to the ebb and flow of the ocean (and humanity’s) currents, whether they be half a world away or a few steps from home.