reviewed by Michael Thomas
Corey Gulkin (previously known as Corinna Rose) is true to her word when she says she tries to keep things different. Each album has been different than the last while still leaning into a folk sound. When I spoke to her in 2015 she hinted that her next album would sound like a mix of the sounds of North East South West and The Wharf, and that’s true. But it’s also a lot darker, and more experimental.
Reading the description of the album paints the already dark-sounding album with an even darker shade of paint. The album stems from an abusive relationship Gulkin was in, and the stories of the songs are of revenge, forgiveness and the most difficult part of all of it—coming to terms with it. In the title track, which quickly sets the dark tone of the album, we hear Gulkin at first talking about trauma in vague terms. The instrumentation is mainly melancholy guitar; but then Gulkin sings “Should I burn you down by the water” and Leah Dolgoy’s harp comes in, adding a twinkling backing to some very dark subject matter.
From “Unknown Lover” onward, Gulkin gets more and more bold with her arrangement. Besides a few unique lyrical phrasings (“The sunrise wakes you cruel” is quite a turn), we hear just the slightest brushing of electronics. “Hail the Creator” might be the most experimental piece of the eight on this album, starting with Gulkin singing a cappella. Suddenly a rumbling sound intrudes onto the piece, and later bass and synth slide into the mix, with the song finally ending with harp. The song seems to be about a relationship where one person controls the other, ending with the lyrics “Your project is complete/She’s kneeling at your feet.”
Also in the interesting-weird category is “It’s Not,” which brings in the occasional static-y whine over Gulkin’s guitar. It feels like the quietness can’t last long and before long, Gulkin has pulled a LUKA and added roaring guitar into what was previously a quiet song. The end of the song is downright terrifying, with Gulking repeating “It’s not” so many times that it sounds like she’s laying a curse on someone.
Gulkin’s most biting lyrics add some additional sharpness to the blade of the album, like “What’s Done Is Done.” The “you” addressed in this song sounds like the scum of humanity, with lines like “A braver knight would spike the punch” and ending it all with “Oh how you ran, it’s what you are.” Then there’s “Under the Covers,” which is memorable in a different way. The dark-folk song has Gulkin deciding “And sometimes I choose nothingness/Because it bears some semblance to freedom.”
Gulkin told me in the aforementioned 2015 interview that her bandmates helped keep her music weird. All The Things I’ll Forget is weird folk that never becomes inaccessible, and another strong entry in Gulkin’s increasingly beautiful oeuvre.
Top Tracks: “Hail the Creator”; “It’s Not”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*