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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lucy Wainwright-Roche - There's A Last Time For Everything

Lucy Wainwright-Roche - There's A Last Time For Everything
2013, 1-2-3-4-Go!
Lucy Wainwright-Roche’s family line shouldn’t be strange to anyone.  The daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche (The Roches), Lucy’s family also includes aunts Maggie and Terre Roche, Sloan Wainwright, and half-siblings Rufus and Martha Wainwright.  Although Lucy started late in the family business of music (she was originally a school teacher in New York City); she is quickly establishing herself as one of the most talented songwriters of the clan. Her 2011 album Lucy showed an artist capable of taking everyday moments and emotions and turning them into works of utter beauty.  On her recently released follow-up album, There’s A Last Time For Everything, Wainwright-Roche picks up right where she left off.
Wainwright-Roche opens with "This Year Will End Again", placing things like success and failure in the light of the cycle of the year. This philosophical exposition is laid bare on the stones of an utterly beautiful, string-laden arrangement.  The listener is caught up in the slow and inexorable build of beauty and meaning. "Seek & Hide" is an exploration of expectations versus reality in light of falling in love. Wainwright-Roche looks at her life through the eyes of an academic philosopher, generating questions more than answers. "Last Time" seeks to mark out the space between never was and always will be when it comes to relationships. It's hard not be blown away by the subtle yet powerful imagery Wainwright-Roche conjures here. The deep arrangements and her singular, lovely voice are additional layers that please the ear, but the songwriting is the thing that drives this experience. 
"Monte Rosa Range" reflects on a non-distinct memory that seems more a pastiche of time than a singular moment. Consider this a still life with moving parts, and consider Lucy Wainwright-Roche a master painter. "Look Busy" is a musical monologue of a friend consoling another in the face of loss. There is a sense of mixed emotions here where friendship and love may intermix, but our protagonist is keeping a careful distance for now. "Canterbury Song" has a quiet energy that is impossible to ignore. There is a love song in here somewhere, but it is buried in a momentary reflection on the past, stories and sparks. All the while, Wainwright-Roche paints with instruments, words and voice a gorgeous tableau. 
"Call Your Girlfriend" is a plaintive suggestion to end a love triangle by one of the points of that triangle. There's a plain spoken honesty here that's compelling, whatever your thoughts on the subject. Wainwright-Roche turns an awkward transition into a moving monologue that could be the centerpiece of an off-Broadway musical. "A Quiet Line" has one of the most unutterably beautiful choruses you'll ever hear, and tracks the history and questions of love in a gentle but vibrant waltz. "The Same" mulls cycles once again, and inability to change amidst the changes that occur around us.  "Take What You're Given" is another monologue that contrasts childhood reflections, complicated thoughts and a quiet hope for redemption. Wainwright-Roche creates gorgeous images with her words; compelling images that haunt your thoughts long after the music has fallen away. There's A Last Time For Everything closes with "Under The Gun", a relationship post mortem built on half truths and misunderstandings. Wainwright-Roche plucks beauty out if heartache like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and sings it in tones of nascent confidence. 
Lucy Wainwright-Roche offers up a magical listening experience on There’s A Last Time For Everything.  Spinning musical webs around highly personal tales of love, loss and the inevitability of change, Wainwright-Roche bares her soul and psyche in subtly unrelenting fashion.  The power of her songwriting comes from simple truths buried in the lines, and the power of the music comes from the little touches; rhythms, counter-rhythms, sounds that seem extraneous but aren’t… the attention to detail on this album is mind-boggling, and every sound, note and rhythm is perfectly placed.  But what’s more, Lucy Wainwright-Roche sells each story without drama and without cliché; she simply tells it like it is in wonderfully poetic and flowing muse.  There’s A Last Time For Everything is a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc, but even that might not tell you how good it is.  This is one of those rare heirloom albums that you will carry with you for a lifetime.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
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