Laura Victoria “Today’s Another Day” (Independent, 2019)

Laura Victoria has taken her time over producing the follow up to her debut album, which was well-received in 2015. It was worth the wait. ‘Today’s Another Day’ is a consistently engaging collection of songs about the end of a loving relationship leaving the space for something new to emerge. It is a set of thematically and lyrically strong pieces that blend traditional folk with traces of rock, blues, country and pop. The cello-playing singer-songwriter from Northumberland has a distinctive voice that brings to mind Kate Bush or Tori Amos;
it is sometimes slightly nasal, sometimes an almost spoken, breathy vocal delivery that is full of warm character and inhabits these narratives beautifully.

The first song, ‘I Can’t Stop Thinking About You’, launches immediately with the gently dramatic vocal: “I’ll never forget how you changed my life,” over delicate finger-picking, which soon develops into a more forceful strum. It sets the tone for the first half of the album, narrating the heart-breaking refusal to accept the end of a relationship, a desperation reinforced by the repetition of: “I can’t believe…” The use of repeating words or phrases is a lyrical device employed effectively and intelligently throughout the record. The opening track serves to showcase Victoria’s vocal style and range, while drawing the listener effortlessly into the sense of ongoing storytelling that runs through ‘Today’s Another Day’.

Next up is ‘Since I Got My Heart Broke’, which has a strong bass line and a bluesy sensibility. At first, the narrator seems defiant: “…love is sport,” but then seems increasingly full of self-doubt. Again, repetition is used to emphasise the inward-questioning and the dwelling on mistakes. ‘The Water of Tyne’ is the only traditional folk song on the album and it’s a lovely rendition; it’s theme of separation from a loved one makes it a fitting choice. The layered vocal is excellent throughout, demonstrating Victoria’s precision and range. The bleakness of fading hope on ‘The Looks Don’t Lie’ contrasts with the jaunty melody. This track is notable for the string arrangement that provides depth and for more smart, lyrical wordplay with the near-repetition of the opening line towards the end, subtly altered to reflect the emotional fallout of a drifting relationship. The first half of the album closes with the more rhythmic, poppy ‘I Sleep More Sound’. The synth sounds and foot-tapping beat match a sense of greater empowerment in finding positives in falling out of love.

Title track, ‘Today’s Another Day’, is the turning point on the album, ushering in a series of songs about rising up from the ashes of burned out love. The track is upbeat and relentlessly positive: “Daybreak choruses, waking up is glorious.” In the verses, the words are almost falling over themselves to fit in over the strong beat and uplifting banjo. The thematic shift continues in the bluesy mix of styles on ‘I Don’t Want to Wear Black’, the album’s first single, in which the narrator is clearly ready to move on from a failed relationship. Throughout the second half of the record, the songs are particularly effective, especially ‘Always Knew You’d Come Back’ with its confident vocal over gentle keys and a powerful beat. There’s a lovely melody and tumbling piano notes in the chorus. It offers a powerful statement: “Enough is enough, I don’t need your love.” Perhaps the highlight is ‘I’m Believing Now’, which continues the theme of personal resurrection after a break-up, neatly summarising the album’s concept in the line: “When I lost you, half of me died // But the other half came alive.” There are lush layered vocals over flawless, melodious keys.

‘Today’s Another Day’ is really a concept album that works best when absorbed as a single piece of work, allowing the listener to follow the narrator’s emotional fall before rising up and becoming ultimately hopeful and optimistic. The album grows and gets stronger as the mood changes although, in truth, all the songs are well-crafted, beautifully performed and lyrically smart. This is an album worthy of devoting some time to and losing yourself in.

Modern folk-pop songs tell the story of emerging hopeful after the bleakness of a failed relationship
8/10

Author: Andrew Frolish

From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Lukas Nelson, Midland, Jarrod Dickenson.

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