Dearestly is like boarding a voyage across the sea – feeling the adventure, feeling the ebb and flow, the quiet and storm. You feel, you love, you smile, you learn and then reach your destination – a circle trip which lands you right back where you belong.
Don’t we all just love a good surprise! Lauren Mann’s latest album, Dearestly, popped up out of nowhere on Friday 8th and we couldn’t be more pleased.
Almost three years ago, we posted a review of Lauren’s last full album Over Land and Sea, an album that saw the, then, folk band win CBC’s coveted Searchlight Competition in 2014. After a transitional period, Lauren Mann is back on her own with something a little different; a little new; a little bloody gorgeous.
If the last album was like ‘falling into your bed after a long tiring day’, Dearestly is like boarding a voyage across the sea – feeling the adventure, feeling the ebb and flow, the quiet and storm. You feel, you love, you smile, you learn and then reach your destination – a circle trip which lands you right back where you belong.
This is particularly interesting when you see how the interludes Idyll I, II, III and IV not only bookend the album, but appear at stages throughout – checking in and guiding the journey through.
The variety of musical styles within the album is not only a credit to Lauren’s talent but also to the vision of the album as a whole. It is a rarity to find an album in which each and every song stands as strong on its own as it does within a collective – and to consequently not break the flow of the album as a whole. Yet, Dearestly does exactly this.
The early offerings New Beginning, Brave Face and Beautiful Place bring the cheery, folk, get-on-your-feet vibe that we know and love from Over Land of Sea. Yet, when the fifth song, Talk of Leaving brings us down to a calmer state with a stripped piano it feels nothing but natural. In the same way, the smoothing middle section of Hibernate, I Wanna Know, Make Smooth, St. Lawrence and half of Oregon doesn’t feel out of place in any way. I say ‘half’ as it is in the middle of Orgeon that some kind of fire is lit – bringing a depth and a slow burn that follows through to the final three songs to complete the album. The surprising off-rhythm of the drums and the power of the strings in Show Me the Way made me grin from ear to ear – a curve ball proving that we actually still have no idea how much Lauren Mann has up her sleeve. You Are Fire and Wooden Heart bring about a brilliant energy and a gorgeous cacophony before we are left with Idyll IV – returned to where we belong.
To be completely honest, I’ve tried multiple times over the past week to sit down and write this review, but every time I did, it somehow felt like something wasn’t right. That was until I took a break from the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life, took a long wander into a park and just listened. It was then that I understood – Dearestly begs for space. It begs for the listener to stop and take a little while. To be still, to listen and just be. It is in this that you will find its true beauty and realise it for, quite honestly, the masterpiece that it is.
In an incredibly generous move, the album is available to download digitally, for pay-what-you-feel, via the following link: