Somewhat of an underground discovery two years ago, Lydia Cole popped onto my radar with her simple but warm arrangements of folksy rock music. Back with her second album, much Cole continues to dance a beautiful line between beauty and fragility which disarms you as a listener and gets you exciting and mournful to boot.
Opener “Dream” encapsulates everything Lydia does beautifully. It’s a simple track but there’s small production tweaks that hide beneath the track which add nuance to timing or a certain lyric so that when Cole sings “Stay Safe” it covers a variety of thoughts and feelings and feels like it can cover a layer cake of perspectives. The guitar is central to Cole’s sound and her acoustic ditties are just as formidable as her electric work as “The Fool I Am” shows. It’s melody is infectious but the lyrics and delivery have heavy weight in how Lydia is able bounce on and off notes to add dramatic effect. “Telepathy” is a great combination of this start/stop/fade effect and is a personal favourite on the album with its warm hug and space it gives you.
“Time is a Healer” is a single in waiting. It’s lazy vibes mask an uplifting tune and a downbeat message but delivered in a warm way. The drums, keyboard and guitar all interplay perfectly and it’s great for a late evening chill out session. “Sober” was the actual pre album single and its delicate guitar and vocal performance is understated and reflective – a mood that is spread thickly throughout the album. Even when the track transforms into a more psychedelic electronic feel towards the end, every riff feels spacious and thought provokingly alone. “The Bell of Love” is a hushed pause for thought.
“Glimpse” pulls towards chamber pop rock with percussion and synths coming to the fore and whilst they’ve been here throughout the album, all the clever effects really come to the front of the mix here, and with the prepared piano sounds of “Brave” you can hear all the interior clicks and creaks. The latter track is so gentle and honest, its a gem and the album rounds off with the piano solo of “The Lay of the Land”. Interestingly there are lyrics embedded into the mp3 but none are sung.
Simply put, Lydia Cole’s “The Lay of the Land” is going to be my go to album for when I need something to retreat to and heal. With how at war we are with ourselves every day at the moment, this will be an album of quiet strength in the void. Superb.
Recommended Track : Telepathy