Secret Meeting score: 83
by Joseph Purcell
Virginia singer/songwriter, Lucy Dacus, burst onto the music scene in 2016 with her self-assured debut, No Burden – giving a glimpse of the artist that she could become. Now in 2018, sophomore record, Historian, finds Dacus is sensational form, emboldened by personal strife and lashing out at the political displacement felt by thousands of young Americans.
Historian opens with Night Shift– a storming six-and-a-half-minute behemoth, jammed with bass distortion, heart thumping drums and Dacus’ surging voice at the fore- seeping in gently before exploding into a cacophony of furious charm. The delightfully bombastic pop of Addictions is a breezier, yet no less catchy affair, dealing with the tumultuous nature of relationships and love- bouncing and lurching from the chorus as Dacus hollows, ‘you got addictions too’.
The centre piece and ultimate highlight on an album full of such points is the achingly beautiful Yours and Mine, as Dacus opens ‘I’m afraid of pain, both yours and mine, both yours and mine’. Dacus is a staunch supporter of equal rights for women, and she conveys the turmoil of her past abusive relationships through the content of Historian. Her song writing is a beacon of positive messages that champions equality, but also a signpost for a generation no longer willing to stand for the crimes of an entitled male psyche.
The peak White Stripes swagger of Timefighter gives more pause for delight before the bounding familiarity of single Next of Kin, as Dacus opines, ‘I am at peace with my death I cant go back to death’ before exploding into Pillar of Truth– a song that Courtney Barnett has been trying to write for years.
Dacus is the latest of a burgeoning generation of female singer songwriters who demand your attention. She has established herself as an increasingly vital artist with a unique voice. And just like label mate, Julien Baker, she creates comforting music for the soul. Long may it continue.