Album Review: Lydia Luce – The Tides
If you like lush, calm soundscapes, Lydia Luce is the right artist for you. If you like it to have a bit of a subtle Americana softness, this album is definitely for you. I was immediately reminded of Sara Watkins (high praise!) when I first heard Lydia Luce. She belongs in that kind of authentic country singer songwriter royalty. She’s definitely a rising star on her way to many more successful albums like The Tides.
“Linens” starts the album off with a sort of melancholy. It’s a beautiful piece that eases nicely into a range of emotions. “If I let you kiss me… are you gonna come back or you just passin’ through?” It’s such a powerful, pointed expression. One gets the feeling it was written about a smooth talker like Don Draper. She doesn’t want to like him, but she just can’t help it. “I’m addicted to the feeling…” The emotional depth of this one (highlighted with some pretty phenomenal fiddle work) is sure to win a few fans right at the outset.
The second track, “Love You True” is romantic as you might imagine, but it also has a genuineness to it that I find really captivating. It’s a desire to be swept away in a realistic sense rather than in a fairy tale sense. It feels about as authentic as possible and drips sweetly from Luce’s crisp soprano lead.
“Golden Eyes” gets the toes tapping a bit. Luce uses her lower register to start this one, then soars with accusations to the main subject. It seems like another smooth talking swindler as the feature of this one. “Can I put back the pieces of my life?” It seems like either the man cheated on her or otherwise broke her heart, so now she’s not sure who she can trust. The upbeat western beat (not quite western swing… but close). It’s enjoyable, nevertheless.
“Stay the Night” is a candle-light, intimate song. It’s about as seductive as you might imagine. “I’m the one staying here… inviting you to lay back down.” The spirit of the song is all about seeing if the romance might work. Sonically, it’s pretty stripped down with just a few string instruments and a few voices. But it really helps to highlight the intimacy of the track, which is both unsettling and endearing.
The final track “Marjorie” brings the end of the album about seven tracks too soon. Luce is definitely primed for a full LP! The song really has the Sara Watkins inflections I mentioned earlier. There’s just that little bit of Americana strings blended with Luce’s best vocal performance on the album. It feels like a small town in sound. It’s about a relationship between two people who are too young, taking things too fast. “Marjorie this love never would last.” It’s tragic and feels like it cuts deep, though I can’t exactly explain why.
All told I really think Luce is going to have a highly successful career. I can’t go two sentences without saying “authentic” or “genuine” about what she’s doing. I find her delivery to be pure, which is sometimes hard to find among voices that come across as innocently as hers. Taking that along with the wide range of topics, especially around love and relationships, one gets the sense that Luce is primed for a successful independent country music career.