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  • Although she'd been playing violin as a member of post-rock group Balmorhea for over ten years by the time her second album, Argonauta, was released, Aisha Burns makes quieter indie folk as an acoustic guitar-based solo artist. Following her debut by five years, Argonauta retains the reflective tone of her prior solo work, while expanding on gently textured arrangements that include synths. A plaintive set, the songs concern grieving the loss of her mother while trying to embrace forward movement, including a new romantic relationship. The title "Must Be a Way" seems to encapsulate that notion, though Burns has explained that it's about what depression might look like if it existed in a physical form. The song suggests it might look like a sort of distorting mirage ("Trapped in this desert of mirrors/All that is left when the smoke clears"). Burns' deep-toned but lilting voice brings a warm intensity of its own to the track, as does an arrangement that opens with simple, strummed folk guitar, adding subtle vibraphone and vocal harmony before it swells with strings and a choral-type voices. The more rustic "If I" features fiddle and twangy guitar, while the closer, "Where Do I Begin," has a more fortified sound built on electric guitar, bass, and drums. Still haunting, and echoing with reverb and rumination like the rest, it invites a visitor in and ponders the future. Argonauta is, by the nature of its inspiration, a brooding work, but it's also a comfort, providing a place to sit amongst warm tones, elegant harmonies, and pensive understanding. ~ Marcy Donelson
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