Lucy Dacus - Historian
Nov 29, 2018
77
Albums like these make me wish I was someone who attached more importance to lyrics, because I'm guessing my overall experience would be greatly enhanced by more devoted attention to the way Dacus analyzes death and tragedy in her writing. The problem is that if the music isn't interesting enough of an access point to make me want to listen more closely, I often don't feel compelled to devote more time to understanding a deeper layer of the album's concept.

That's not to say Historian is bland. In fact, it comes closer to suggesting indie rock isn't dead than almost any other record this year. I really enjoy the maximalist presentation of many of these songs, with Dacus avoiding twee bedroom sentimentality by laying her songs with horns ("Addictions"), strings ("Body to Flame"), and many other great surprises. The problem is just that even moments like these don't feel distanced enough from something you've already heard from Lady Lamb, Vagabon, or DIIV (although better executed than at least two of those). The surprise distortion of "Night Shift" and relentless death waltz of "Timefighter" are great while they're on, but not compelling enough to make me want to relisten to the album. There's no denying Dacus is a talented writer and performer who is doing way more for the genre than her peers, but the feeling of stagnation persists.
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