Lucy Dacus – Home Video
Lucy Dacus’s third album, Home Video, is a well-connected accumulation of inspirations from the return to her hometown of Virginia and childhood diaries written there. The album is built on storytelling, quietly devastating teenage tales woven into music without censorship of the awkward, uncomfortable details that inhabit such memories. Her passion for writing and close reading is beautifully palpable in a lyricism that is poised and visceral.
Hot and Heavy is a powerful pulsing sensation of passed time, broadly contrasting with Christine, a sorrowful, acoustic declaration of disagreement with a friend submitting to an inhibiting relationship. There are touches of sad sarcasm in “We’re coming home from a sermon saying how bent and evil we are”, a vignette of her experience with a universal tragedy. Queer love against the indifference of religion is delved into further in the final track, Triple Dog Dare – seven minutes of a poignant, turbulent build. Thumbs is gothic Dacus at her best, an elegant fantasy about a “quick and easy” murder of a close friend’s no-good father. It is as if her violent impulses are stretched out into slow motion as she unfolds a memory with heightened awareness, creating a tangible intimacy that characterises Home Video.
Dacus combines soft, willowy vocals with a vivid tactility of words, such as “peach pits in your gut” in VBS (a recollection of bible camp), or the bloody description of a sunset with colour filtering out like “pulling teeth out of a cloud” in Going Going Gone, an ironically dainty acoustic track about a sweaty, fumbling teen romance. The moments more aligned with her rock-inclined older work are the most forgettable, and it’s the softer tales, teeming with fine details and a sort of fragile eeriness, that are worth the listen. There is, however, an anomaly in Partner in Crime, which is doused in auto-tune, smartly reflecting the deceit depicted of a youngster lying about her age to older guys.
A total avoidance of generalisations elevates Dacus’s songwriting as more human than much other music based on coming-of-age reflections; its refreshing that she doesn’t try to be pleasant. Nostalgia dominates in terms of the sound, but the tracks themselves are precise, often barbed, in their emotional tone. Dacus is therefore far from the bleary-eyed cloudy pastels of aesthetic indie – rather, she climbs into her experiences, gripping them from the inside out with raw, poetic purpose to bring their every colour, sound and taste to the surface.
Home Video is released on 25th June 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Lucy Dacus’s website here.
Watch the video for the single VBS here: