I’ve been a big fan of Lilah Larson since 2011, when Oliver Ignatius sent me some tracks he was working on for Sons Of An Illustrious Father. They pretty instantly became one of my favorite bands, and the album One Body has been a constant in my streaming habits (as well as vinyl listening-a beautiful oxblood red piece of wax). They’ve kept fairly busy the past couple years, but I’m glad Lilah made some time to do a solo record because what we get on Pentimento is pure in vision and executed beautifully.
The album came out at the tail end of 2016, but now it’s streaming on Spotify, Bandcamp, and iTunes. I took a couple spins through Pentimento last week and really fell in love with a couple of the songs. They all come off as well-crafted and sincere, but “Father Daughter Ghost” and “Someone Else” stand out above the rest for me.
The former struck me as a little odd at first. The beat is totally different from the rest of the record, and the electric guitar’s small section early in the song reflects a bittersweet yearning. The thing that really caught me up is the lyric in the bridge, which could have easily just been a throwaway: “If I saw you would you see me, too, and would that mean that we were born again? And tell me what good would that really do? We really wanna do it all again?” The electric guitar comes back after and has a more triumphant feeling, like a burden has been lifted.
“Someone Else” has a more traditional sound, carried on pure emotion from Larson’s delivery. She does an amazing job of projecting sadness, anger, confusion; often all at the same time. Trying to make someone else happy sometimes requires a lot of compromising your own happiness, even your own identity. It’s even possible to compromise so much that you kind of lose yourself along the way. Here, torn between heartbreak and a life of pretending to be someone you’re not, Larson acknowledges that some things are more important than others.
There are some other cool things on Pentimento, from the electronic drums on “Windsinger” to the way Larson layers harmonies with her own voice on “tbh,” it’s an impressive production. Larson plays darn near everything on the album-save for a little percussion on “Father Daughter Ghost” and “You Are.” This is solely and uniquely her own, and it’s a great testament to her talent as a musician and songwriter.