In recent years Lydia Ainsworth has written pop songs for people who are ambivalent about pop.
2017’s Darling Of The Afterglow was an electronic- meets-orchestral affair flecked with hooks. Phantom Forest is her most sonically taut yet – one for listeners seeking evened plains – a concept record about humanity’s disregard for nature that’s set to a crisp, synth-pop soundtrack. ‘Can You Find Her Place’ is a tropical tonic of springy bass and whip-smart beats. ‘Diamonds Cutting Diamonds’ best exposes Ainsworth’s composition chops: mapping synths and beats like a symphonic movement. Phantom Forest isn’t, however, constrained to the synthetic sounds typically associated with modern pop – there’s ample acoustics. Moreover, Ainsworth is keen to test her experimental limits, even if the results are less cluttered overall.