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Malena Cadiz - Hellbent & Moonbound (self-released)

10 November 2023

If you have an interest in music that effortlessly transports you back in time, music that resonates with the brilliance of trailblazers like Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake while also giving a nod to more contemporary torchbearers such as Cat Power and Feist —folks who’ve beaten new paths for indie-infused folk— Malena Cadiz emerges as an artist well worth delving into.

Enter the wonderfully titled Hellbent & Moonbound, her third full length opus, another glorious chapter in her unique musical narrative. Here, folk tunes seamlessly blend into lush, ambient indie-scapes, carrying with them tales of songs of experience and wide-eyed vulnerability, lyrics bristling with wit and wisdom, music that echoes a restlessness as she tries to find her place in the world.

Cadiz takes us on a journey, gracefully meandering between the delicate, finger-picked strains of “Museum Shoes,” a song sharing a hushed sonic palette with the likes of Norah Jones, and more groove-infused numbers like the spacious and subtly funky “Call It A Night.” What elevates her craft as much as the gorgeous music is the brilliance unfolding in her lyrics—conversational yet occasionally tinged with that Bukowskian touch of the slight absurdity of real life, yet also sentiments that are intimate, beautiful, self-analytical, open, and honest.

For those who might think folk music, even in a non-traditional sense, is stagnant and resistant to the ebb and flow of time, this album, and indeed Malena Cadiz herself is a much-needed addition to your musical library. It pays homage to the past, creates music for the present, and lays the groundwork for a promising new musical future. What more can you ask of an artist, really?