In a world of Lydia Loveless, Lera Lynn’s sophomore album sounds like a step sideways and while still good enough to be worth a longer look, it is a strange hybrid new country (or is that Americana?) mood music. If you listen to new r&b, folks like the Weeknd, the sound here would be less Bristol in the 1990s, or George Jones any time, and more moody sounded deep sounds that sink your soul down.
Which means it is very good though not quite great yet. Maybe Lera Lynn, the Houston native, brings it stronger in a live setting. The songs here wind relentlessly with strings and slide and dew drops of desire and they are if not ear worms, certainly a sound you want to return to relentlessly.
After moving from Houston to Athens, Ga, Vera joined local band Birds & wire before going solo with 2011’s Have You Met Vera Lynn, a little better though not as expressly ambitious as her new album The Avenue. if her debut album isn’t alt country it sure sounds like it is, catchy clever songs like “Gasoline” -a song I missed last year and regret it.
The Avenue starts with masterpiece, the second single “Out To Sea” with a relentless drum machine and atmospheric synths leading to a slide guitar and a deep whispered vocal. Produced by Joshua Grange, who has worked with beck, it doesn’t get tripped hopped on its own cleverness and the song builds toa forceful verse and a superb bridge. It is so good, it stops you in your tracks and makes you want more.
And you’ll get more over the following ten songs, though only “La Di Da” is its equal. The songs seem to work from a metronome onward, everything is lilting waltz and it doesn’t need to be. It would be better off with a cleaner production. And while you’d have to be pretty gnomic to complain on an album that can go from the strength of depressive “Empty Pages” to the lo-fi mutedness of “I’m Your Fool” to the searched out desire of another very strong song “Leave It Up To Me”, it also needs hunting out to be discovered. The playing is tasteful in the extreme and the sound is a sonic dream of echo as though the sound of indie poppers has evolved or is that mutated?
Lyrically Lera can hold her own with the best of em, the songs capture the essence of blue desire on track after track and seldom settle for a word when a metaphor will do. Maybe she is a little too careful, note the Lydia reference that starts the review; still, this is the real deal for Americana though not for pop fans.
distinct and wondrous without being obvious or obnoxious
except for the title track the songs are on vacation
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem