Grief and loss and failed relationships – and maybe a glimmer of optimism half-hidden from sight?
St Catherine’s Child is the project of Ilana Zsigmond, who was born in England but mostly raised in Conneticut. ‘Every Generation‘ was recorded last year at The Cabin Studio in Liverpool, after Ilana Zsigmond had relocated back to the UK in 2015. A four-song EP, ‘Every Generation‘ is an expansion on Ilana’s folk roots, bringing in familiar Americana sounds. The band name is taken, by the way, from St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of debate and young women, who was the subject of Ilana’s university dissertation. Although brief, ‘Every Generation‘ is an impressive collection with an eloquent turn of phrase. The upbeat acoustically propelled title song tells of a father and daughter relationship, so sprinkled with tiny incident that it comes as no surprise to find that it is autobiographical, and, with the key line being “tumours only want to grow“, it also comes from a place of recent grief. And yet – even with that realisation it’s a song that just shines with love, well maybe that’s to be expected. There’s a shared reality of living in what had been her father’s hometown and knowing that as she makes her own history Ilana is also walking through his history. Some comfort, perhaps, but there’s struggle as well under the apparent lightness of tone.
‘Holy‘ is a sparser song, with something of an echoey multi-layered vocals Clannad feel to it. It’s a love song of sorts, acknowledging perfection on one side and a mix of mistakes and errors on the other side – but it is all a part of the whole “I know its perfect and its divine this little Universe that is only yours and mine / and when I stumble we’ll just say that every piece of this is holy just the same.” Beautiful throughout. ‘I Know Nothing‘ drifts in on chirping synthesizers before starting to rock slightly, and reveals a person declaring themselves openly – adrift in the world, as a relationship falls apart and yet with the possibilities of the world revealing themselves. That relationship is capped off with the country-rocking ‘No More Pictures‘, which spiritedly kisses off with “you keep the bars and all our friends” whilst telling some home truths starting with “I think you’ve got it wrong / I’m fine with moving on / But I don’t think you’re playing fair / You’re lying to my face / removing every trace / won’t make the past go anywhere.”
‘Every Generation‘ covers a lot of ground in a short time, taking in folk inspired storytelling, synths and rock arrangements and a little country touched Americana. Who knows what a full album could achieve? One to watch.