Laura Stevenson - Laura Stevensong Music Album Reviews

Laura Stevenson - Laura Stevensong Music Album Reviews
The singer-songwriter’s sixth album remains enigmatic, processing trauma and joy through the force of its unvarnished arrangements.

Transparency is in vogue. From major pop releases such as Billie Eilish’s introspective new album Happier Than Ever to the self-effacing indie rock songs of boygenius, artists have gravitated toward devastatingly specific and personal lyrical detail. New York singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson once operated in that mode, too, exploring her experiences with depression, self-harm, and troubled family relationships on records like 2019’s The Big Freeze and 2015’s Cocksure. But on her self-titled sixth album, she shifts her songwriting to be more equivocal and finds solace in the opacity. “I’ve always been forthright, but with [Laura Stevenson], I’m pulling back a bit,” she explained in a recent interview.
The songs on Laura Stevenson revolve around a harrowing incident in which a loved one was nearly killed; to protect their privacy, and to honor her new approach, Stevenson hasn’t disclosed details about what transpired. But the myriad emotions surrounding the experience permeate the album, which explores the traumatic event and its aftermath through Stevenson’s own multifaceted perspective. Opening track “State” is a microcosm of the album’s sound, ranging from hushed murmurs to unabashed rage. It begins serenely before bursting into tempestuous percussion and Stevenson’s bitter delivery. “I’m in a state again, but I stay polite,” she sings, before unleashing a snarl: “It keeps me alive.” It’s a kind of vengeful mercilessness that we haven’t heard from her before.

Aided by producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Hop Along) and her former Bomb the Music Industry! bandmate Jeff Rosenstock, Stevenson finds a middle ground among her past projects. She evokes the folky touchstones of 2013’s Wheel on the acoustic-led “After Those Who Mean It” and closer “Children’s National Transfer” and conjures the 1990s-influenced Cocksure for “Sandstorm.” Much of this record’s emotional force lies in its arrangements, amplified by Agnello’s unvarnished production. “Don’t Think About Me” displays Stevenson’s impressive flair for melody, and “Moving Cars” lays everything bare with sparse guitar playing reminiscent of ’70s luminaries like Joni Mitchell.

It was during the making of this latest album that Stevenson discovered she was pregnant with her first child. Though these songs don’t directly reference motherhood, some feel infused with a protective, inquisitive urgency. On “Moving Cars,” she laments her inability to change what has already occurred: “I’m wide awake under supposed Perseid views/Could I stop before I let it get too far?” On the following track, “Continental Divide,” she reluctantly acknowledges that she won’t always be able to protect her loved ones from danger: “But what could I do right to keep you safe while you’re in flight/To keep the plane and all alight among its engines in the sky?”

Because these songs are so much more enigmatic than her previous output, they simultaneously foster a sense of universality and obscurity. It can occasionally be difficult to extract meaning from particular phrases: What does it mean when, on “Wretch,” she sings of “seizing in a parking lot, my eyes aglow with ballistic missiles and trials”? Still, she imbues her words with an intensity that compels you to lean closer. Laura Stevenson is often vague, but the emotion comes through.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Laura Stevenson - Laura Stevensong Music Album Reviews Laura Stevenson - Laura Stevensong Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 16, 2021 Rating: 5


Post a Comment