Lucy Dacus



Feb 28, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Richmond, Virginia-based musician Lucy Dacus is painfully aware of the end. On "Pillar of Truth," an arresting and dirgeful augur to Dacus' late grandmother, she holistically reflects on accepting mortality with dignity. Still in the stirring prime of her existence at age 22, Dacus makes sure to leave nothing unsaid on her sophomore album Historian. Initially, the album's impressive scope of subject matter enveloped within can feel a bit daunting, overpowering even.

But Dacus is up to the task to guide you through: her feathery delivery and laser-focused wordplay keep the listener firmly on notice. The naked crystallized truths she unearths in each song prod the soul intrusively, often instilling those familiar physical jolts inside your chest when severe heartbreak hits.

That being saidincredibly soDacus manages to avoid wallowing in full-on angst and solipsism throughout this record. Naming it Historian is a disarming and playful way to place herself in the bird's eye view, without completely denying the personal place these songs are rooted in. Case in point on brilliant opening cut  "Night Shift." As the song cathartically breaks through that back-burner of a chorus, Dacus wistfully sings "In five years, I hope these songs feel like covers."

Even musically, Historian evokes the modest, homely impression of an old family photo encased in a beautifully adorned rustic frame. Grounded, with an occasional gander to surrealistic abstraction (notably, the pulsating bass of "The Shell" vaguely recalls Radiohead's "Exit Music"). The benign bar band cadence of "Yours & Mine" and winsome horn section of "Addictions" bolster Dacus' stormy ruminations with grace and levity.

It makes the sheer emotional weight of the grand finale easier to hold: the meandering "Historians," in which Dacus postulates: "If past you were to meet future me, would you be holding me here and now?," seamlessly setting up the opening chords of "Night Shift" to relive history all over again. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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