I feel like emotionally charged is too weak of a phrase to describe the New Zealand musician Christabel’s music. Her brutally honest creative process has allowed her to look at her life at all angles, cutting through the noise of affirmation that would cover many other artists and instead get down to the nitty gritty, uncovering painful truths that cut like a knife through her emotional core. Ankle Deep is a testament to this creative manifesto, with her breaking through the dam and allowing a tidal wave of expressive emotion to come cascading down upon you, submersing us in an evocative landscape that is anything but ankle deep. Going to the darkest depths of her subconscious with memories she wishes didn’t exist, her lyrical narrative unveils a twisted tale as she regales us with the time she was trapped in a physically abusive relationship. Her introspective lyrics play on her mindset at the time with, “If the water’s only ankle deep then why are we still drowning,” representing her struggle to leave, even if there’s nothing blocking her path. Her haunting vocal evokes the pain of this time, the mental anguish and physical torment all come through with the poignant production only elevating this further to a breathtaking level. It’s just spellbinding.
It’s a thought-provoking single with moments that will have your jaw drop to the floor in cheer disbelief with her self reflective songwriting and heartbreaking vocal being the main cause of this. However there is a ray of home, beneath the sorrow we see how Christabel has emerged from this struggle stronger than before and isn’t holding back anymore. An empowering end in a powerful single.