Published Dec 10, 2018Laura Hermiston is on her way somewhere. She has California's coast on the brain — the guitars definitely got too much sun — but her sophomore album pours out so much more than sand. Distancing has a cross-country momentum, each song a little stop — for an ice cream in "Nice Age," at a bar in the Lone Star state — or resplendent turn along the way.
But this is also more than just a trip cross-country. Hermiston clambers up into twinkling "Towers," somersaults down a dark "Tunnel" and tumbles down into herself.
Co-producer Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck shrouds Hermiston's voice with woozy atmosphere, not fog so much as sunset-coloured smoke bombs. Synths bounce against each other like the giggle in your chest as you finally get away. They bloom, wordless, for the smiling silence on a long drive through nowhere. On "Venus," Hermiston floats in canon with herself, like echoes of a canyon ringing back. "Blowing"'s moog bass goops, viscous with the honey of album's end, the trip's final vista.
Just as each journey's immediate moment is the most visceral, the rest of the beauty blending behind, each song totally consumes. Distancing races past endless new beginnings: each town, each view, each possible exit. Each song is its own dashed road, but they all lead to each other. They all fit on the map.
"Wait," calls Hermiston, keeping both hands on the wheel, eyes straight ahead. "Hey, don't look back/ to who you were before." She doesn't want to get lost on the way. She keeps her map out, just in case, just to be sure. Because, despite the "mercy of motion," no matter how far she goes, "these thoughts drag on." Her pettiest thoughts still prod: "Does it make you feel good? (I've been on the radio before)." Still she speeds, hoping they'll erode like her spinning tire's treads. (Buzz)