Joanna Newsom's "battered heart is worn unflinchingly on her sleeve"

In my imagination, Joanna Newsom lives in an alpine forest eating honey and carving sonnets into tree trunks.

And so this album comes as a shock. Lyrically, Newsom’s battered heart is worn unflinchingly on her sleeve, and you discover that she is human - not elf - after all. She gets drunk, lonely, and imagines a "room gilded with the golden teeth of the women who loved you" and "a Bloody Mary seen in the mirror". The most innocent of images is tinged with a darkness that slopes just out of view.

Francesconi’s orchestration splices sparseness and intricacy – sneaking in a piano and quick scribble of strings in ‘Easy’ before making way for Newsom’s vulnerable suggestion of being ‘easy to keep’.

But ‘Baby Birch’ is the star, so much so that ‘On A Good Day’, a perfectly good song, sounds as mundane as mud after this melancholy lullaby has broken your heart. A week is not enough time to absorb this album, nor would I want it to be.