In trying moments, strength is idolised as the triumphant rise over one’s adversaries, not only being able to rise up but stand above them all. On “No Fire in the Sand, Black Sea Dahu’s Janine Catherin marks her EP as a welcoming rest stop for those on the long path of recovery.
Released, September 27th, 2019, Mouthwatering Records.
Catherin’s work speaks openly on her past, with a window left ajar for those wishing to seek solace in her past aches and pains. After two failed relationships, “No Fire in the Sand” was how Catherin could encapsulate her emotions, bringing life to ‘our fallibilities, our irrationalities, our guilt, our denial, our anguish, our self-pity’ marking her darker moments as something to be celebrated rather than to be marked as defeated and forgotten about.
However, her ability to keep her head above water is not something that Black Sea Dahu, merely glazes over as assured normality. The openness in revealing her struggles, still to this day, are plentiful throughout “No Fire in the Sand”, stating ‘Sometimes it takes up all I have inside’ on behemoth track ‘Demian’, or her succumbing to the strength of bigger forces, now idolising the sea on ‘Thaw’ with the line ‘Give me those big waves I’ve always been scared of, I don’t hesitate anymore’. From the opening charm found from ‘Rhizome’ and it’s calming beginning, becoming volatile and inhospitable from the second half, “No Fire in the Sand” informs you from the word go, that Janine Catherin will be taking us on an arduous journey, not meant for the faint-hearted.
It’s upon traversing through each track, that the finer intricacies of Black Sea Dahu’s work seep through. Her charming folk reveals glimmers of goth at times, cascading down as bitterly cold water which Catherin warmly embraces, riding the unwelcoming tide of depression from adverse situations with enough skill to turn her tribulations into something hauntingly personal that welcomes anyone who can relate in any shape or form.
‘Demian’ in its gargantuan splendour, captures this thought beautifully, creeping slowly before its inevitable attack, patiently waiting amongst the steady beat of finger snaps and looping guitar hooks. Once the moment to leap out arises, ‘Demian’ strikes with thunderous tenacity, as Catherin expresses her pain in seeing the death of her relationship surface with bitter anger, ‘And you drive me out, out in the cold into a fuckin’ snowstorm, have you lost your mind my dear?’. A cataclysm of crashing drums and highly sprung guitars further elevate Catherin’s inflated state of disbelief, hurtling through like an unstoppable hurricane, before spitting Catherin out and revealing her anger as the remorseful sorrow that fills “No Fire in the Sand”.
Through failure and emotional chaos, Black Sea Dahu circumnavigates the treacherous seas of personal pain and returns to the not so familiar home of her past; now navigating through the obstacles of dealing with personal trauma without it consuming her. Janine Catherin beautifully displays approaching pain with a welcoming embrace, allowing her trauma to become something that can be learnt from rather than simply overcome. The minute erraticism of “No Fire in the Sand” travelling from soothing folk to scorned goth at times is one of many reasons why folk music listeners will be hailing this EP as an inspiration for years to come.