Mar 30, 2021
Nashville singer/songwriter Lydia Luce’s sophomore album, Darkish River, was borne from a time of specific ache and progress. Impressed by a painful 2019 breakup, a mountain sojourn, and a near-death expertise in 2020’s Nashville twister, the report serves as a doc of, and a monument to, the trials of her current years. The ensuing report is one in all unusual vulnerability, invigorating magnificence, and expansive range.
On her sophomore report Luce takes on an thrilling urge for food for fashion and sound, exploring touches of her classical roots, bluesy ballads, driving nation rock, and stark finger-picked folks. After opening with refined brushes of guitar and swelling strings with “Sometimes” Luce dives right into a stormy title observe, accompanied by pounding percussion, powerhouse vocals, and touches of Americana. “By no means Been Good” and “Depart Me Empty,” then again, discover a extra conventional tackle upbeat nation rock. Lastly, the sweeping drama of chamber pop makes an look on “All of the Time,” as do stark piano ballads on the closing two tracks. Luce’s sprawling strategy to songwriting unites the entire types round her luminous vocal stylings and luxuriant string preparations.
Luce proves notably deft at navigating the various corners of the Nashville sound, unsurprisingly since she has lengthy been a go-to session participant, offering strings for information from Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Eminem. Luce deploys these skills to nice impact, centering the strings as one of many defining options of the report. Every second is lovingly organized as they supply pillowy accents to the report’s moments of lush chamber pop, widescreen cinematic drama to the people rock ragers, and swelling burst of emotion to the plaintive singer/songwriter ballads. In flip, every string accompaniment contributes one other layer to the wealthy texture of the report’s sound.
But, the rapid star of the report is Luce herself. She slides comparatively seamlessly into nation rock paces however the report’s plain highlights are the spotlit ballads. Tracks akin to “Perhaps In Time,” “Tangled Love,” and “Stones” deliver spacious acoustic preparations and flourishing melodies to the fore, permitting nothing to take consideration away from Luce’s heartrending vocals. These tracks are the susceptible core of the report, offering cohesive centerpieces round which Luce’s style explorations broaden.
That very same vulnerability can also be the guiding pressure behind the report. As Luce admits, the inception of the album got here within the aftermath of a very robust breakup and a retreat within the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Whereas a lot of the album will be learn by that lens, Luce goes deeper than only a lament for misplaced love, as a substitute making a report about self-discovery, progress, and authenticity. At instances this leads to burning and defiant moments, as on the title observe. At others the reflections are stark and solitary, discovering Luce at her most susceptible moments, pleading to a God she isn’t certain is there, or confessing her tangled struggles with codependency.
Luce’s confessional honesty is what shines by most clearly on Darkish River. Luce isn’t afraid to battle, to fail, or to not have all of the solutions. The sprawling songwriting and glowing preparations take Luce’s fashion to new heights, centering her elegant vocals, meticulously crafted instrumentals, and unrelentingly private lyrics. There’s an plain sense that Lydia Luce has made one thing particular as she processes her ache. (www.lydialuce.com)
Writer score: 8/10