The Magdalene Laundries

The Magdalene Laundries
Label: Delmore
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Magdalene Laundries, The

This darkly subdued album claims as its primary influence a documentary about an infamous religious "home" in Ireland that was essentially a brutal prison for unwed mothers and other women who fell out of favor with the church and local authorities. Although Darby shies away from making any of these 10 songs a direct narrative about the place and its people, the hopelessness and quiet oppressiveness of this guitar-and-voice disc is mightily evocative of a similar misery. Whispered confessions and bare-bones instrumentation make for an enveloping listen, and though it's an imaginative and thoroughly engaging album, it's also rather dire. Thankfully, the disc clocks in under 35 minutes, and unlike the residents of the Magdalene Laundries, you can put the sadness behind you when it's done.