Matador – November 8th

When thinking about how to make a follow-up to her 2018 album, Historian, Lucy Dacus chose to opt out of the ‘normal’ way of releasing music. Sharing her new songs slowly throughout the year as a series of stand-alone singles, each loosely themed around a holiday or a season, 2019 is an eclectic mix of both original songs and covers that took an entire year to be revealed. It’s something the Virginia-born musician has called ‘slow music’, an attempt to release music as-and-when, in a low-stakes way that doesn’t have to adhere to any grand album release plan or concept.

It’s an approach that shows in the sheer variety of songs on the EP. Of Lucy’s own songs, ‘Forever Half Mast’ is a gentle, country-esque song released for Independence Day, exploring the complex guilt of being an American citizen in the contemporary age and ‘My Mother & I’, written for both Mother’s Day and Taurus Season, is a sparse, poignant song that contemplates what mothers pass on by genes and what they pass on through nurture.

But this feels strongly like a covers album, with Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and the technically-not-a-holiday of Bruce Springsteen’s birthday being celebrated via Lucy’s guitar-driven renditions of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Édith Piaf’s ‘La Vie En Rose’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’. Though it doesn’t sound coherent enough to seem like she’d planned to release the project as a full-length album, as a side-project, it’s given Lucy more space to experiment and she sounds all the freer for it.

Buy: Lucy Dacus – 2019