Chalk/Flint offers an interesting soundscape, and an insight into the creativity of Isobel Anderson. Vocally, Anderson shares many similarities with Laura Marling, and on this, her forth release, she delivers a paean to the ethereal nature of world. It is no surprise that Anderson has an MA in Sound Art, as Chalk/Flint is expertly crafted.
Recorded in Belfast, there are touches throughout the record which see Anderson tipping her hat to the Ireland’s musical heritage. Take ‘Flint Shingle’ as an example. The track begins with the sound of seagulls soaring in the air, and the lyrics take a reflective look at the idea of ‘home’; “We grew up here/white chalk and pebbles…I came here to set me free’. The song seems almost traditional, as if handed down through generations. The reference to the beach to be ‘set free’ is biblical-esque, an example of the imagery Anderson conjures up throughout the record.
Perhaps the most sonically (and lyrically) adventurous track is ‘4284’. In this, Anderson laments “moving away…going through it all alone”, a choice she made by herself. “This is my body/you don’t decide what’s inside” giving an insight into the frame of mind of the person within the track. This could be seen as a thinly veiled social commentary into pregnancy, or perhaps, a return to the biblical imagery of previous, a sense of chrysalis, of being re-born through adversity.
It is difficult to believe that it has taken four records for Anderson to come to wider commercial success, but it is thoroughly deserved here on Chalk/Flint. As a piece of art, Chalk/Flint is wonderful. For a sonic composition, it deserves to be heard and appreciated by many.