Album Review: Lauren Calve – Shift

Fans of electric guitars and expressive lead vocals in the vein of Sheryl Crow will find a lot to like about Lauren Calve‘s new album Shift. The mix of contemporary rock elements with timeless narrative stylings makes for an emotional, sometimes raw, and often rewarding listening experience.

Calve’s first track “Shift” brings syrupy guitar lines that provide a basis for an expressive lead vocal. The lyrics are sure to keep listeners focused on life’s constant state of flux. The energy of the track sets the album on a cool course. “Shift” was released on May 26.

The second track “Everything At The Same Time” is the song that initially caught my attention on Calve and influenced my main comparison of Sheryl Crow. There’s a lightness to the electric guitar that makes it feel more like current Americana songwriting. Like most of the album, the track gives some serious 90s Lilith Fair vibes. The sense of overwhelm that comes from “everything” in life happening at the same time is deeply relatable on this one. The song is out on July 7.

“Pretend to Forget” and “See You Again” both bring a bit of attitude to the middle of the album. There’s a mysterious and captivating energy to “See You Again.” Something about it feels like being out in the middle of a desert at night (or some other haunting, lonely setting). The finality of the lyric “I’ll never see you again” carries with it that sense of lonesomeness for sure. It’s an intriguing emotional mood.

The next track “Late Bloomer” has a fair bit of angst to it. It’s a coming of age tale about self identity and self expression. “Plug Me In” follows it with a chilled out style more in the vein of a confessional, almost diary-like lyrical flavor. “When I’m Gone” keeps things calm, with a bit more of an artsy expressive vibe.

“Subtle Alchemy” has a unique flavor to it, bringing together elements of narrative rock songwriting. The lyrics feel a bit more esoteric and open to interpretation. “Ring Them Bells” echoes some of the feelings of isolation and distance echoed earlier on the album. The use of dissonance helps to capture the sense of uneasiness. The final track “Deep In The Hollow” has more of a country flavor than most of the record, which is in keeping with the Crow comparison. It’s probably Calve’s best vocal performance on the album, expressing more of an open style. It’s a nice way to finish off the album.

All told, this is the type of album that’s going to appeal to fans of songwriters like Sheryl Crow and early 90s Lilith Fair artists.

*Album releases on September 1, 2023. You can presave the album HERE.

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