by Joseph Purcell
Gritty off kilter guitars and serene floral string peaks take us by the hand on an emotional voyage on Louien’s delightful extended play, No Tomorrow
Musically, Louien presents a world of diverse folk elements. The precise finger picked acoustic style of Bedouine’s Bird Songs of a Killjoy, displayed here majestically on Fire, melts into the lush arrangements and precise vocal comfort of Chan Marshall’s more delicate moments. Which is bookended by the warm Americana of Joan Shelley on the superb Deep Within and Woke up from the Dead – providing a homely comfort and familiarity that blankets the ear with charm and grace.
Lead single and centrepiece, Better Woman, builds across three and a half minutes of moreish pop. Its lyrical content, though, is cast against its musical bliss. Centred on an argument between two partners, it is told from our narrator’s viewpoint: she is deeply in love, she is struggling to get through, and she is reflecting on her own failings – ‘I’d give anything to be a better woman,’ Louien sings, filled with an angst fuelled by her ever-questioning flaws and rueful shortcomings. The imagery of being physically close, but heartbreakingly distant spellbinds – ‘So I laid down beside you, you’re already asleep, you’ve given up on us, so I am giving up on me.’ Clinging onto the ever-burdening glimpse of hope, almost begging in tone, ‘come lay down with me, my heart will always be yours,’ she bursts through the web of internal self-harm – willing to cast aside all her being for one more moment together – gently begging, ‘there might still be hope.’
This conversational lyrical style permeates the EP’s core. Her words acting as a guide through competing moments of joy and strife. On the title track, her tone brings relief and dispels the impending fears of human nature. Her gaze cast on the moment and value of presence, ‘she says there’s no tomorrow, there’s only this moment rest your head and let go of your sorrow.’
An accomplished triumph, No Tomorrow, heightens the anticipation for a full length release from this rising Norwegian folk star.
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