When Camille Delean made a record about isolation, she couldn’t have known just how relevant it would be upon release.
Cold House Burning, the Montreal-based artist’s second record, was written in 2016, a time that Delean spent at home in a state of seclusion brought on by illness.
As such, the record is steeped with an unease that will be familiar now to so many. Anxious thoughts quickly become spirals, or else grow until they occupy every inch of space. And when nothing changes with each new day, it only brings fresh anxiety; on opening track "Idle Fever, Out Of Tune", Delean sings, "Threat of fire in a spark / Threat of dawn in the dark:, and in the following track "Sleep In": "The day dawns and it hurts me".
Delean is backed by a clutch of collaborators from across Montreal’s music scene, and their musical composition is rich and captivating; acoustic and electric guitar, bass and drums, piano, synth, violin and saxophone are woven through almost every song, their ebb and flow gracefully measured. There’s an unyielding beauty to it, acting as a comforting cushion to even the record’s most anxious moments.
And often Delean pokes holes in the thick curtain of disquietude around her, shedding small pinpricks of hope. "Go easy on the world, it’s only turning," she sings on the record’s penultimate song, "Go Easy". And in tandem with that call for gentleness towards the world, a call for gentleness to oneself on "Saturn Gravity": "Relax, be good, patience / You’ve got a strange way of feeling, that’s all’. ‘Medicine Morning" presents perhaps the record’s most meaningful encapsulation, with the lyric: "It’s gonna be a fight all day / I’m almost delighted". Cold House Burning lives in discomfort, but maybe discomfort comes from growing.