LAEL NEALE – ” Acquainted With Night “

Posted: February 20, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

Lael Neale directs and stars in the official video for “Acquainted With Night,” the title track from her new album, which is available worldwide from Sub Pop Records.  
Neale says: “‘Acquainted With Night’ is another homemade video that explores my complex relationship with technology. I am drawn to archaic machines, but that doesn’t mean I want to slip backwards into some idealized past. I’m more interested in stepping out of time entirely.”

Acquainted With Night features ten tracks, and includes the previously released standouts “Blue Vein,” “Every Star Shivers in the Dark,” “For No One For Now,” and the aforementioned title track. The album was composed and arranged by Neale, produced and mixed by Guy Blakeslee, and mastered by Chris Coady. Lael’s new album Acquainted With Night is a testament to this poetic devotion. Stripped of any extraneous word or sound, the songs are lit by Lael’s crystalline voice which lays on a lush bed of Omnichord. The collection touches on themes that have been thread into her work for years: isolation, mortality, yearning, and reaching ever toward the transcendent experience.

Lael grew up on a farm in rural Virginia, but for nearly 10 years called Los Angeles home. Those years were spent developing her song writing and performing in venues across the city, but the right way to record the songs proved more elusive. She says, “Every time I reached the end of recording, I felt the songs had been stripped of their vitality in the process of layering drums, bass, guitar, violin, and organ over them. They felt weighed down.”  

Acquainted With Night has seen international praise from the likes of MOJO, who in its 4-star review, raved, “Who knew the world was lacking a country-folk version of Broadcast until now?” France’s Télérama said, “Stripped of frills, young Lael Neale sings the starry nights of her native Virginia. With grace and grit. And the soul of an old bluesman. Lael Neale confirms her talent with an intense second album.” Meanwhile Uncut in its feature on Acquainted With Night, offered this, “A thing of shimmering beauty, led by Neale’s otherworldly voice with its shades of Vashti Bunyan and Julia Holter.”

Neale and producer Blakeslee, recently performed songs for Flood’s Magazine’s “Neighborhood Sessions,” who says, “The pair took turns filming each other perform their new tracks—appropriately shot with grainy, camcorder-esque quality—on a farm in the area where Neale grew up. The back-to-back solo guitar performances of Neale’s “Blue Vein” and Blakeslee’s album opener “Sometimes” prove just how much musical chemistry the two share together.  In a moment of illumination the solution presented itself: do the simple thing. In early 2019, in the midst of major transition, she acquired a new instrument, the omnichord, and began recording a deluge of songs. Guy Blakeslee, who had been an advocate for years, set up a cassette recorder in her bedroom and provided empathic guidance, subtle yet affecting accompaniment and engineering prowess. Limited to only 4-tracks and first takes, Lael had to surrender some of her perfectionism to deliver the songs in their essence.
 
Acquainted with Night is now available through Sub Pop Records. In the U.K., and in Europe will receive the album on white vinyl (while supplies last).

“Why We’re Excited: A little serendipity never hurt anyone, and it seems to be the very thing songwriter Lael Neale needed. In this case, that stroke of fortune was a friend loaning Neale an omnichord. That loan led the recent Sub Pop signee to tap into a wellspring of inspiration that directly led to her upcoming album, Acquainted with Night. With three singles, including the gorgeous “Blue Vein”, to judge from, we can only hope that Neale’s friend let her keep that omnichord. They’re a perfect match.” 

“The grandeur of the organ tones, joined by a tinny drum machine, give it a similar feel to Beach House’s more recent albums.”  [“Every Star Shivers in the Dark”] – Brooklyn Vegan

“Against a beat and organ based tones, Neale belts the vocals out like she’s singing to anyone who will listen. Her voice echoes like a ringing bell or alarm, the simplicity of the song’s structure works with her voice as the catalyst.”  [“Every Star Shivers in the Dark”] – Closed Captioned

…Lael taps into something universal, city or country, that we all long for, connection…and if you find the time to listen to Lael’s music, you’ll find plenty to love as well.”[ “Every Star Shivers in the Dark”/“Five Things We Liked This Week”] – For the Rabbits

“An absorbing two-chord hymnal” [“Every Star Shivers in the Dark”] – Joyzine

‘Every Star Shivers in the Dark’ is far more reflective in its delivery, there is an undeniably optimistic undertone and a dreaminess liberally sprinkled throughout. It brings a crescendo of twinkling key changes at the end of the track which linger long in the mind like the last rays of sunshine on the perfect Summer day.” – Still Listening

While Lael returned to her family farm in April 2020, Los Angeles is a player on this album, and “Every Star Shivers in the Dark” is an ode to the sprawling city, the outskirts of Eden. One can envision her walking from Dodgers Stadium to downtown, observing strangers and her own strangeness but determined to find communion with others. “Blue Vein” is her personal anthem, a Paul Revere piece that gallops through the town as a strident declamation. It is an amalgam of thoughts, concerns, and lessons as she nearly speaks the words, unmasked by flourishes, ensuring the meaning cuts through.

Normally a morning person, Lael recorded most of these songs in the darkening of the early evening, and so became Acquainted With Night.

Neale impressed us with ‘Every Star Shivers In The Dark,’…she’s back with another new track, the entrancing “For No One For Now.’ Like Neale’s prior single, this one is minimal and reflective while maintaining a strong backbeat. But rather than build to a cathartic breakthrough, ‘For No One For Now’ lingers in the unresolved tension, less a song than an atmosphere to exist inside.” – Stereogum

“‘For No One For Now’ is deceptively simple and strangely haunting and hypnotic.” [#1/ “Song of the Week”] – Under the Radar<

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