ALBUM REVIEW: Kathryn Joseph – For You Who Are The Wronged


ALBUM REVIEW: Kathryn Joseph - For You Who Are The Wronged

Critically acclaimed Scottish songstress Kathryn Joseph released her much anticipated third release, For You Who Are The Wronged, on April 22.  This new release continues Joseph’s examination of the damage human beings unleash upon one another.

Joseph is never one to pull her punches, and on For You Who Are Wronged, she dazzles yet again with her unnerving, straightforward approach. The album’s sparse sonic canvas focuses the listener on her lyrics, hammering home her insights. For You Who Are the Wronged follows her 2018 release, From When I Wake The Want Is and was produced with Lomond Campbell. The album was recorded over a period of a week at Length’s Studio in the Scottish Highlands.

On For You Who Are The Wronged Joseph shimmers through various personas displaying bravery, tenderness, insecurity and bitterness.  She switched perspectives throughout the tracks being both victim, observer and even abuser. Again, Joseph continues to display an underlying dissatisfaction with the world, loved ones and herself. The overarching intent on this outing is to provide succour to the suffering, give a voice to the voiceless and encouragement to reach for power to the powerless. She delivers a call to the listener to fight against the immense tide of evil, pain and fear no matter where it is found, from our so-called leaders to our own parents. As the tracks unspool, one is struck by Joseph’s uncanny ability to describe the agony and ecstasy of our relationships with others.  Often the titles give a clue as to the emotional journey each track travels.

For You Who Are The Wronged begins with “What is Keeping You Alive Makes Me Want To Kill Them For”. The track sets the sonic landscape that will be prevalent through the release with electric piano and heartbeat rhythms, best described as sombre minimalistic tones.  By not identifying the last word in the title it allows Joseph the canvas to call out various offenders who deliver so much pain.  Joseph encourages the wronged to not give in and protest.

“The Burning of Us All” delivers a mindful track about those trapped in perilous relationships during the lockdown. Joseph rails against the elite who have so little concern for the impact of their decisions upon society. This is stated clearly in lyrics like, “The way they make you eat the shit out of their hand, as if this is how you understand.”  Throughout, there is a mantra of, “There is no one coming”. In the end, she switches this to, “There is someone coming”, revealing she is holding out hope that someone will come and they will provide us with the resiliency to survive.

“Only The Sound of the Sea Would Save Them” is an engaging folk tale where an element of nature saves mankind.  This track builds to a crescendo of banshee like fervour, making it one of the unmissable tracks of the release. “How Well You Are” and the title track “For You Who Are The Wronged” examine the intentional and unintentional damage done by our parents.  “How Well You Are” begins with this stunning lyric, “They that save themselves from those who make the locks, those who turn the ship towards the rocks.”  The gripping lyric promotes self-healing and surviving the damage wrought, as she concludes the song with the lyric, “Look how well you are”.

The title track takes this idea further with the idea of forgiving family members for making you: “Lay in the bed they made,” while examining the contradiction of not being able to let go of the same family members when they are dying. Both songs encourage the listener and the abused to look for a way to acknowledge the damage and move on to something better.  Throughout numerous tracks, the lyrics stress that the truth cannot be hidden forever and healing only comes from recognizing the damage done, this is seen on tracks like “Until the Truth of You”, “All of the Broken”, and “ The Harmed”.

The standout track of the release is “Flesh and Blood”, where Joseph is at her most emphatic in protecting the damaged from physical, emotional and mental pain. This beguiling track is made more potent by Joseph’s intimate examination of how we all bear blame for hurting others. Only in acknowledging the pain and damage can the cycle be stopped. Joseph brings the outing to a close with “Long Gone”, turning the mirror upon herself on the jittery closer. She admits she too can be evil and cruel and then looks to stop the abuse she dishes to others by calling it out.

Kathryn Joseph, throughout her growing discography, delivers heartbreak and hope, displaying them coexisting together. She enchants the listener with her direct emotional expressions, demanding that the listener give their full attention and, when it is given, provides a soul cleansing payoff. On  “For You Who Are the Wronged”, the sonics are clean and minimalistic, providing an intimate feel, whether she is whispering or declaiming like a banshee. Kathryn Joseph, with “For You Who Are the Wronged”, yet again provides personal introspection that is filled with the wisdom of the ages. It will come as no surprise if she is once again nominated for various critics’ awards and is well worth the listener’s attention.

Xsnoize Author
Lori Gava 337 Articles
Lori has been with XS Noize from the beginning and contributes album reviews regularly. Fav bands/artists: Radiohead, U2, The Cure, Arcade Fire, The Twilight Sad, Beck, Foals, Sufjan Stevens Fav Albums: In Rainbows, Achtung Baby, Disintegration, Funeral, Sea Change, Holy Fire, Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave.

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