words by tom johnson
photograph by tom daly
Like closing your eyes to the incessant roll of wheels on tarmac, there’s a sense of detached repetition in movement on ‘Player’, the fascinating lead track from Juliana Daugherty’s debut album. Though it occasional splinters, the track is most pertinently shaped by the constant ticking of its instrumental backing, a softly plodding guitar that underpins the whole track, making like a heart-beat; like a metronome for Daugherty to drape that exquisite voice upon.
The aforementioned record is called Light, and it’s found its home at Western Vinyl, the Texas-based label that continue to grow and impress, having already graced our 2018 listening with the likes of Jessica Risker, Air Waves, and more. Released on June 1st, the ‘Light’ LP is as deep and heavy as this initial track alludes to: “I wrote this record partly to strip mental illness of its power,” Daugherty says of the album.
And what beginnings. While the repetitive nature of its composition is certainly a highly captivating aspect of the new track, there’s so much more here besides. Her voice is powerfully yearning, each syllable delivered as if it’s requiring of an answer, like a log-book of uncertainty. Then there’s the subtle deviations that pierce through the fog; the occasional flash of colour in the surrounding black-and-white; the unexpected shift in tone for the final quarter, when Daugherty’s voice finally makes a leap for safety: “Don’t let me down,” she sings in the sudden disquiet, before the thick, impenetrable clouds reform once more.
A striking start-point from what promises to be once of 2018’s most alluring first-efforts, you can stream the new track below right now; pre-orders for the ten-track album are available now, via Western Vinyl.