Cornelia Murr’s debut studio album is a gracious meditation on self-induced isolation. Murr’s spectral soundscapes are chilling and otherworldly, and Lake Tear of the Clouds feels long overdue in a world of overly produced nonsense.
Lake Tear of the Clouds is the debut studio album from Cornelia Murr, yet everything about Lake Tear of the Clouds points towards expertise, patience, and creative profusion. It's an album of comfort, fitting like an old, weathered baseball mitt from the first rotation of mellotron notes. Murr's vocal delivery is assured and steady, flowing gracefully as each composition unfolds and expands around her gentle whispers. Yet, Murr's vocal opulence, a stunning presence itself, is in no way the cynosure of Lake Tear of the Clouds — it's the seamless production and arrangements found throughout.
Largely produced by My Morning Jacket leader Jim James, Lake Tear of the Clouds has his fingerprints all over it. Much of Lake Tear of the Clouds bears similarities to James’ 2016 solo project Eternally Even. These moments are clear and pronounced on tracks "Who Am I To Tell You" and "Cicada," the latter showcasing a jazzier side of Burr's artistic approach, and the former representing James' old school-meets new school modus operandi, in which James fuses low fidelity production with clean, tight, and hyper-produced arrangements. Every detail found throughout Lake Tear of the Clouds represents this approach, mythologizing Burr as a storied entity in the process.
The majority of Burr's original compositions are velvety and mellow, pulsating and steaming along to create a work of art that is neatly pieced together — every whistle, bass line, and reverberated background holler as vital to the mix as Burr's vocals themselves. Perhaps Murr's most charming and ambitious moment, though, is her rendition of Yoko Ono's feminist anthem "I Have A Woman Inside My Soul," stripping the original down and building it back up to create and affirm Burr's artistic clarity and brilliance. The influence of Ono's 1973 studio album Approximately Infinite Universe is heavily felt throughout Lake Tear of the Clouds, from the color scheme of both album covers to the inward sense of isolation and remorse found on both.
Lake Tear of the Clouds' closing statement, "You Got Me," is a ghostly, finger-picked siren call, and Burr's vocals begin to fade, sounding farther in the distance, while each second passes, as if the entirety of Lake Tear of the Clouds was just a fever dream, slipping away as soon as you begin to gain consciousness. That's the beauty of Lake Tear of the Clouds, though — the moment you think you've had enough, it's over with, leaving behind a trail of desire to press play, over and over again.