It’s easy to fall under the spell of Ashley’s haunting voice. The Vancouver, B.C. based songwriter forged her own identity as a songwriter with 2016’s eponymous self-titled debut. Her sophomore effort, Only the End, maintains the moody introspection that is ingrained in Pacific Northwest life, but now comes armed with a palpable hope complimenting her signature melancholy. Her confident vibrato above lightly, distorted guitars mirrors the album’s theme of resilience, if not triumph, over adversity. There is comfort in these warm songs that endorse the realism of contented acceptance, rather than the naïve search for non-existent utopias.
While the songs were conceived in contemplative solitude, Ashley invited some very capable collaborators for their journey into the studio which included Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Paul Rigby (Neko Case), Joshua Wells (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust), Colin Cowan (Elastic Stars) and Ryan Beattie (Himalayan Bear).