– featured image courtesy of tom daly –
there are myriad quaint moments on juliana daugherty’s impeccable debut album light, ones of such commanding stillness and solitude that stand in stark contrast to the three-alarm fire that is the current collective everyday existence. the charlottesville, virginia, resident largely eschewed the macro-level political trappings on her latest, but its message is still radical: the reclamation of self from mental illness.
the mildly propulsive opening tracks ease gently into daugherty’s intimate world, “baby teeth” especially, aided by its steady, syncopated guitar and warm keyboard interjections amidst daugherty’s meandering lead vocal. a ten-track collection that sees no merit in trafficking in conciseness, light rewards the listener who engages critically from start to finish, hitting its stride halfway through and becoming truly powerful in its final third. in particular, the rhythmic playfulness of its title track is the perfect segue into the home stretch, the pensive “come with me” pairing with the sparse “california” to present daugherty at her finest.
armed with a classical music upbringing, a multi-instrumentalist’s ease, and an mfa in poetry, daugherty is uniquely poised to turn in an album of this caliber. light is chock-full of arresting moments – the cinematic majesty of “sweetheart”; the slow-burning assurance of “bliss”; the rich, unexpected vocal harmonies throughout “easy” – but what endures is daugherty’s unparalleled confidence, charting its course to emerge from the darkness.
light is out now via western vinyl; stream the album in full below.