Sometimes it takes so little to say so much, to create music so piercing and enchanting. Such is the case with You Follow Me, a collaboration between singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia and drummer Jim White (who has also manned the kit for the likes of Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Cat Power). Over the course of ten short songs, the album creates its own chilly yet beautiful little world.
With such sparse surroundings (the only sounds here are drums, guitar, and vox), White is able to show how dynamic the drums can be when not relegated to simply keeping time. He propels the hiccupping starts and stops of “I Write Down Lists,” the undulating waves of “Our Discussion,” and some exquisite rim-work on “How Will You Love Me.”
Another musician White has worked with is PJ Harvey, and it’s Harvey’s Is This Desire? (1998) that You Follow Me most resembles. Both albums trade in the dark urgency of hushed folk music. Vocally, Nastasia impresses throughout, whether belting away fervently on “Late Night” or flaunting a killer high register on “There Is No Train.” Her voice is naturally delicate, somewhat like Joanna Newsom’s but without the grating tinge.
Nastasia and White play so organically together that you could almost believe the few elements that make up You Follow Me must be coming from one hybrid, multilimbed musical beast. The two obviously clicked in the studio, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find them making more music together in the future. Let’s hope they do.