“Backseat Driver” LP
words by tom johnson
photograph by julia leiby
Backseat Driver, the new album from Lily McKown, begins with a punch, a short fadein before the album’s title-track, and opening number, bursts into life. Such eagerness slowly turns into something more downbeat however, the brightness of the instrumentation at odds with McKown’s voice which carries an angst in its heart almost throughout the ten tracks.
that melancholy is matched, or perhaps balanced, by the smartness of the songwriting, however, and Backseat Driver delivers gem after gem of unvarnished folk rock, songs that wear the scruffiness of their edges like a badge of honour, like a humanness to hang on to.
the album is supplemented by small pockets of violin, achingly pretty strings supplied by Molly Germer who has previously worked with Alex G and Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan. Suitably, those two songwriters act as a worthy barometer for McKown’s work here, the bones of Backseat Driver borrowing a little from both of those idiosyncratic songwriters while also ploughing a beautifully distinctive path of its own.
From the compelling five-minutes of the weighty ‘Virginia Lovers’ to the bare-boned and scorched closing track ‘Flowers In Texas’, you get the impression that Backseat Driver is the kind of record that will come to mean an incredible amount to those lucky enough to stumble into it’s humid and stormy landscape.
It’s released in full tomorrow but you can stream the whole thing below right now; suffice to say, we highly recommend doing just that.