It was in the intimate moments of recording herself in pandemic isolation that Cornelia Murr crafted Corridor, the follow-up EP to her 2018 debut, Lake Tear of the Clouds. Self-recording and producing might be a daunting task, but it seems to have given Murr permission to expand and experiment. Corridor is as much an exploration of sparkling pop as it is a deeply felt meditation on the ache of being alive. Murr’s elastic quiver, with its many dimensions and shades, is best when she lets it run wild to land anywhere from smoky and low to wispy and ethereal.
Murr opens Corridor in the latter register with “All Souls,” a love song soaked in enviable selflessness and unself-consciousness. In her shimmering arrangement and mesmerizing harmonies, she is aglow with adoration for a lover and basks in it without shame. Like the imagery she conjures in her lyrics — fat angels singing, praying — it has a hymnal, otherworldly quality. “Again,” with its delicate, breathy vocals and sly whistle, is a confrontation with the self over repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different result. And though Murr is, perhaps, the last person one could imagine covering a song by ’70s pop master Dion, her rendition of “Only You Know” is a hypnotizing kaleidoscope of psych-pop that gives the whole collection some heavenly closure.
Where Murr surprises is in Corridor’s catchiest, most melodic moments. The slow-build groove of “Hero” and the richly layered explosion of “Changed” might be at home among some of Angel Olsen’s dreamiest tunes. Though it might be easy to limit her gossamer voice to quieter, even folksier fare, Murr blooms in these more expansive pop spaces she’s created for herself on Corridor, the kind that inspire eyes-closed dancing and turning the volume all the way up.
Cornelia Murr’s Corridor is out Nov. 25 on Full Time Hobby.