There’s something to be said for the potential for personal growth inherent in traveling without a destination, and every song here is the sound of Julie Byrne making peace with her restlessness.
Singer-songwriter Julie Byrne’s new album has the lucidity and tactility of a healing crystal. Not unlike Phil Elverum, she paints sublime, awestruck moments when simple things become overwhelming.
Listening to Not Even Happiness is like being wrapped up in blanket as a child; it gives you comfort and more than a little reassurance, whatever the future may have in store.
Not Even Happiness is a triumph of subtlety, proof that music doesn't have to be forceful to be powerful.
On each and every song, her performance exhibits a natural and believable energy that keeps things alluring even during its quietest moments. It’s that feeling -- like she’s baring her soul with each tender retrospection -- that makes Not Even Happiness feel like such a forbidden pleasure to the listener. Each time you listen to it, you feel like you’re gaining a little piece of rare knowledge from the singer’s weathered and experienced life.
Beyond the hushed sounds of the record, Byrne, for the most part, is not timid but in possession of a rich confidence.
Second proper album from rootless songwriter Julie Byrne rejects the idea of the great outdoors as a limitless confession booth, and makes it into a legitimate source of desire.
The decidedly naturalistic Not Even Happiness may imply that Byrne is simply catering to her own desires, but in doing so, she’s actually inviting us to witness her growth as both an artist and an individual.