Empathy and anger stoke the fire that quietly burns on Kathryn Joseph’s third album for you who are the wronged.
It’s a tender, tentative, brave and bitter look at a world full of abusive and toxic relationships in which Joseph inhabits an ever fluctuating narrative. She flits from the perspective of an observer, a friend to an abuser to a survivor but you alwyas know what side she’s on – this record is about giving a voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless, and comfort to those who need it so desperately.
Recorded over the space of a week at Length’s Studio in the Scottish Highlands with musician and producer Lomond Campbell, Joseph’s third studio album is certainly her most succinct to date and should be consumed whole. Treading carefully and doggedly through sensitive subject matter, each song falls seamlessly into the next – wrapped in the warmth of those keys and the escaped, high pitches whisper of Joseph’s maudlin vocals.
It’s raw and heartbreaking but so brave and protective, a space where bruised flesh and resilient minds constantly trade places. for you who are the wronged is a space where deep and gentle thuds of the drum double as heart beats and soft, quivering notes can be a visceral cry (something Joseph actually notes she did a lot while recording this record).
Lyrically it’s not shy. “The way they make you eat the shit out of their hand / as if this is all you’ve known and understand” on “the burning of us all” is a shot fired squarley in the direction of the abuser even though it’s spoken as if to a survivor. For anyone who’s ever experiened abuse first hand or watched a loved one on the receiving end, Joseph’s words hit hard and heavy. “I’m not strong enough to watch him kill you” she repeats on stand out track “flesh and blood”. As with many tracks, “flesh and blood” draws it’s strength from a sparse lyrical narrative that relies on repetition to hammer the sad, brutal, messages home.
for you who are the wronged is a beautiful, at times overwhelming, journey through a cruel world that robs and violates us all of something. It doesn’t passively sit by and let the worst happen though – it comes bearing offers of strength, hope, and companionship to those in need.