Dreamboat by LulucRelease date: October 23, 2020
Label: Sun Chaser Records
Luluc is NYC-based artist Zoe Randell. She started this album before the pandemic, working with Steve Hassett and producer and collaborator, Aaron Dessner of the National, along with other musicians. She is inwardly focused, and these songs reflect her internal world, so it’s an introspective affair. Steve Hassett’s accompaniment here is lush both vocally and instrumentally, so in concert with him and esteemed collaborators, this music is finely honed and bold in its execution. It is lovely folk noir, and is truly peaceful. Imagine sitting by a slow running stream on a summer’s day and listening to this music float by your ears, and you’ll get an inkling of what to expect.
‘Emerald City’ is an instant earworm, and the lyrics will have you riveted. It seems to deal with the range of emotions we’ve all dealt with during this pandemic. The melody is beautiful, and the backing vocals are wonderful. ‘All the Pretty Scenery’ is such a pretty tune, but the underlying vibe is uneasy and anxious. ‘Dreaming’ is lush and gorgeous, and reminds a bit of Beach House.
‘Hey Hey’ kicks up the tempo a bit, but never loses the graceful beauty that resonates in all these songs. ‘Weatherbirds’ is definitely a highlight here for this writer, and the lyrics continue to intrigue and delight me. The harmonies are sublime! ‘Gentle Steed’ has some especially fine piano lines, and beautiful alto tones from Zoe. Her crystalline voice is delicate and is framed exquisitely by the arrangement. ‘Spider’ is also exceptional, and I love the backing vocals! People rarely sing like this anymore, so when I hear it done this well, my ears start to swoon.
‘Out Beyond’ has a faint whiff of Simon and Garfunkel, and that is only a good thing when you have talented players at the helm. Just wonderful! ‘The Screw Ups (PT. I)’ is the most reminiscent of British folk stalwarts, Fairport Convention. ’Daydream (PT.II)’ is this record’s swan song, and it’s immediately catchy but somewhat mournful. It slowly ramps down the energy and ends this song suite on a fine note. Recommended for all fans of finely rendered indie folk.