Like the open spaces between blurred dandelions on the cover of Patricia Wolf’s debut, I’ll Look For You In Others, the experience of grief is a bewildering maze that can seem endless and impossible to navigate. It can flit between feeling like a slow-motion dream and an out-of-control descent into an oddly-alluring void. Processing all of it, we begin to parse the connection of the impermanence of being versus the persistence of memory. Answers are ephemeral, but the act of letting the emotions wash through us is where solace can be found.
I’ll Look For You In Others is a stunning achievement. Wolf composed and recorded the album during 2020 in the wake of her mother-in-law and a close friend’s passing. Within these gilded aural sonnets is an internal mechanism searching for any way to make sense of it all. Dark currents flow through “The Culmination Of,” Wolf’s voice breathing shards of light into the calling abyss. Bass swells pull downward, a weight around our necks as a feathery glint weaves its way through her layered vocals. The dichotomy is transfixing as if we’re stuck behind glass watching the world continue on without us.
This heaviness is challenged on the title track when soaring synthesizer arrangements still feel the melancholic sting of yesterday, but push forward and skyward to get a wider view of the sorrow. “I’ll Look For You In Others” is a gut punch – not just in the glistening tonal swathes, but the words themselves; a gentle reminder of loss and a way to conceive a future horizon. Emotions continue their pendulum-like sway when “Funeral” and “Severed” set fire to the fleeting calm, pouring gasoline on the endless journey. Wolf’s voice feels trapped under a ton of ice on the latter after filling glacial remnants with sonic teardrops on the former. It’s almost too much to take.
Golden hour sunsets finally emerge in the dying embers, though. Disquiet still smolders beneath the surface on closer, “Letting Go,” but as the night chorus chirps at the moon, thoughts of tomorrow become a conflicting comfort. The loss is forever immense and will always hang in the background like a phantom, but each new step is a reminder that there are ways forward without leaving everything behind.