8/10 Mike Staff review, 01 December 2011
Here's one on Votel's missus Jane Weaver's Bird imprint. Paper Dollhouse is the alter-ego of a certain Astrud Steehouder, who here has put together a quiet record of solitary and minimal songs. For the most part this album just has her understated voice and hushed, picked electric guitar, snatching wispy melodies from the ether. At times there's field recordings and layered vocal recordings in a concrete style, and there's a song that's delivered on piano rather than guitar, but largely we've got a collection of skeletal torch songs here. You feel like you've got to stay completely silent while you listen to these songs, as if they're being performed right in front of you. You can hear every squeak of fingers against frets as the vocals effortlessly convey an aching sense of solitude. I guess the fragile minimal delivery of Cat Power is a pretty obvious comparison, or even Smog's more sparse moments, but there's something darker and more modern about these recordings that it's hard to put my finger on. An intimate collection of quiet and personal songs from this songstress.
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