Rainbows in the Dark: Miserable – “Uncontrollable”

Kristina Esfandiari is not only the voice behind the lovely and forlorn King Woman (and a one-time member of Whirr). She also has been working hard on her solo project, Miserable. Her voice is effortless, airy and full of depressive beauty. Her work with Miserable is not merely, as the name suggests, mono-dimensional sadness. Rather, Miserable creates a depressive and emotional landscape using minimalist instrumentation, layered vocals, plenty of reverb and Kristina Esfandiari’s best weapon: her incomparable voice. And the debut LP, Uncontrollable is a majestic undertaking of emotional depth and fortitude.

Adele is about to have a bunch of company at the top. Make room for Kristina Esfandiari. For fans of depressive, emotional music Miserable’s Uncontrollable will be your soundtrack to 2016. Taking on a near Brian Eno level of ambient beauty with the background music, Esfandiari uses her beautiful, smoky alto 2/tenor 1 voice to tug the listener through the sludgy waters of depression. Tracks like “Endless” which feature a mournfully slowly picked guitar and layers of vocals (with just a touch of atmospheric synth) are just devastating in their infinity. “Best Friend” features a similarly layered approach and employs an acoustic guitar to create a vast cavern of chorded melody.

With only an EP and a sort of demo compilation under her belt to date, Uncontrollable serves as a coming out party for yet another time-stopping, stunning work from San Francisco’s Kristina Esfandiari. As I mentioned, her voice is pristine. You could probably put Kristina Esfandiari’s dulcet tone over a salsa commercial and I would listen to it on repeat while sobbing quietly in the shower. But it’s not merely her voice. The composition is similarly pristine as is the minimalist accompaniment. It’s easier for musicians to fill every pause and void with noise than it is to let those pauses and voids speak for themselves. It’s with supreme confidence that Esfandiari allows space to reign supreme. And lyrics…. Christ.

Here’s the lyrics for the title track Uncontrollable:

Your heart
With shelter
Wear it in
Wear in thin
Don’t be afraid to live
Makes no difference
Can you tell me why
I feel so
When you can’t sleep
And you think of us
There’s no relief
That’s all me
Will you fake the risk
Like you always do
There’s only pride left
You know it is
But it’s worth the risk
I’m offering
For the sake of us
I push the brakes
I know what’s next
Say it’s worth the risk
But I push the brakes
I know what’s next

So, yes. This album can be emotional. But emotion, if you’re capable of having emotions of processing “feelings,” are beautiful. Much like watching the cast ocean slowly rise and fall, Uncontrollable will awaken things you didn’t know existed inside you.

– Manny-O-War

Uncontrollable is available 4.29.2016 via Native Sound. For more information on Miserable check out the Facebook page.


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