It may well be her most unintentionally personal record to date, but Lissie Maurus’ third studio album documenting her return to the Midwest, as she bids goodbye to California crackles with homely familiarity and human scenes that make for a beautiful listen.
The overall sound of this record reflects a journey, opening with an overture of thudding guitar-led footsteps, a gentle prying away from California, and settling on a comfortably natural, stripped back sound where the predominant instrument shining through is the confidence of her incredible voice.
It’s fair to say that this album showcases an evolution away from any supposed rebellious streak, although fleeting moments occur to show there always remains an internal uncertainty. The album begins with a lamenting farewell to Hollywood, and the confessional need for stability – ‘I’m ready for that conversation, about the way I’m running wild’ – with a vein of maturity that underpins the whole album, while later on in Shroud when she sings, ‘I feel like I have lost my mind’, in an almost Pixies inspired haze, it proves that like any young woman, there are many different sides to her personality.
Themes of empowered women are to be found in the likes of Daughters; a brilliantly rousing call to arms urging women to become agents of peace, inspired by Liberian peace activist and Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, subject of the documentary ‘Pray The Devil Back To Hell’, while a close family member who passed as a result of ALS is the subject for Sun Keeps Risin, a truly stunning and affecting song for anyone who has experienced loss.
Perhaps the recent purchase of a 10-acre farm in Iowa has helped inspire this accomplished songwriter to slow down and take the pressure off herself, but as her resonating vocal soars out of the final song on the album, it’s hard not to be incredibly excited about what’s coming next.