Sometimes, artists must disappear in order to find themselves. Like a ticking internal time bomb that makes itself known with catastrophic alarm, they find a sudden desperate need to step away from the treadmill, step away from the bruising schedule of commitments in order to reassess who they are and where they’re at.
For songstress Lucie Silvas, this has involved a staggering 8 year break between albums. It is a break that makes the Stone Roses ‘Second Coming’ look positively prompt. In fact, this has been more of an Axl Rose-esque extended stay of activity.
With a gentle trickle, the first few tracks released to Soundcloud to signal her upcoming album ‘Letters to Ghosts’ prove that this break has reinvigorated her immensely. This is the sound of a song writer who returns with, not only a renewed sense of purpose, but a shimmering new sound that steers wildly away from their former signature style. This is an artistic rebirth. If you’re looking for the gentle chime of the sweeping ballad, you’ll be disappointed.
The title track bursts out of the gate with a KT Tunstall stomp – offering echoes of ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ – with a cocksure swagger that’s as infectious as a tickle to the toes. ‘Shame’ rings with a guitar figure that reminds one of ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ or ‘Hotel California’, while the lyrics daub the music with portent, telling the tale of a woman locked into a bad marriage to a preacher on the rebound. And that’s before Silvas cannily turns the table onto the listener. ‘How To Lose It All’ struts with a brisk tempo, dancing with a sense of urgency that, to her detractors, has evaded Lucie Silvas far too often in the past. It is the sound of an artist opening the window and letting some fresh air in. The folky ‘Unbreakable Us’ could even be an unreleased Mumford and Sons song.
In fact, all of this new material feels like the work of a galvanised soul, armed and ready for the next round. The tracks pulse with character and conviction. The fragility of the torch song is tossed aside. Instead, Lucie Silvas is marching towards a new dawn. If the album fulfils the promise of these initial tracks, then the future is looking particularly bright for this singer song writer.