LYDIA LOVELESS – ” Daughter “

Posted: October 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Lydia Loveless Issue 54 Cover

Lydia Loveless is working through a few things on her new album. “Daughter” is her first new release in four years, during which time Loveless has got divorced, moved from Ohio to North Carolina and was frank on social media about her mental health, and also having been sexually harassed by someone in the orbit of her former record label. So there’s a lot to cover on her fifth LP. She hasn’t lost her knack for writing brutally candid songs: Loveless is as frank as ever on these 10 tracks. She has, however, learned to pull back from the flame-thrower vocal sensibility of her earlier material. Loveless‘ songs display her usual directness and fearlessness, but there’s also plenty of vulnerability.

While she has often included laugh-out-loud lines in her lyrics, they don’t seem to fit this particular kind of therapy-through-songwriting.

The title track is a real gem. It addresses the difficulties women face to be accepted for who they are, not as people whose sovereignty is considered through their relation to others, whether as daughters, mothers or sisters. Loveless is at her most Stevie Nicks-like here, backed by a rhythm section evoking the sturdy base of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

Loveless has a massive, powerful voice that she uses to great effect, though the effect is even greater, and hits even harder, when she blends it with a measure of restraint instead of going full-bore all the time. Singing with greater nuance also helps put the focus on her lyrics, which can be flat-out wrenching. Loveless sings with a mix of remorse and dismay on “Wringer,” a divorce song where the opening lines refer to dividing up possessions: “You give the sweetest kisses, dear,” she sings on the refrain. “But you leave the stinger.”

“September” is grim but youthfully defiant, its piano complemented by cello and Laura Jane Grace’s vocals.

Electronic percussion and synths, not usually part of the Loveless sound, provide the foundations for hopeful closer “Don’t Bother Mountain,” about her life’s current chapter. She finally lets her voice soar, as if emphasizing her will to keep going.

The challenges and traumas that led to a new start have made her talents as a musician and songwriter even sharper. Here’s hoping that the fine humour that gave her songs a special spark will be back soon.

“Daughter” available through Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records Released on: 2020-09-25

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