Through the golden valleys of pure indie folk rock bliss comes Lucy Dacus. The sort-after musician makes light beams out of guitar playing, tall tales out of lyrics and a swooning nature cry out of her vocals on ‘No Burden’; let’s take a look.
Lyrically, Dacus turns canvas into breathtaking scenery. Throughout the album, she moves the listener with very curious pledges and intriguing statements. The opener is entitled ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore’ and the song itself has enough tearful quaintness for it to allow the listener to hang on every word and take it completely seriously. Another curious aspect of the album’s lyrics is the fact that ‘Dream State…’ and ‘…Familiar Place’ both share a chorus. “Without you I am surely the last of our kind” sings Dacus on both tracks, seemingly demonstrating some form of emotional hazard, and the aftermath of which is subsequently explored on ‘…Familiar Place’.
The picture you can easily take from ‘No Burden’ is not that of Dacus desperately trying to address anyone, not shouting “pity me”, but instead simply sitting on a log in a park or forest, strumming her guitar while singing to herself. These are stories she is reminiscing about, and if a passer-by eavesdrops, so be it.
Dacus’ voice and the instrumentation both sound effectively warm. ‘Direct Address’ and ‘Strange Torpedo’ are both great examples of how authentically the warmness of her voice allows her to convey her words.
Allow yourself to be taken in by this album, it radiates all kinds of folksy charm. Sure, the frequent gentle approach to music-making may not be as enthralling as it could be, but this style works for Dacus for the most part. It’s not gentle for the sake of being gentle, it’s a personal batch of tales, and any kind of aggressive release from the formula of the record would see Dacus cease to be “no burden”.
Analytically, there is a lot to explore on ‘No Burden’, and for the general music listener, the short, smooth journey is a welcoming one. The passion is soft, but it’s ever-present, and that makes for a really wondrous record.
‘No Burden’ is out now via Matador Records
This Lucy Dacus article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor