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Review: Lucy Dacus Turns Interior Drama Into Indie-Rock Gold on ‘Historian’

The 23-year-old singer-songwriter’s second album is a uniquely powerful mix of conversational detail and glorious guitar heroics

lucy dacus album review

Lucy Dacus' second album is 'Historian.'

Dustin Condren

Richmond, Virginia singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus
has said her second LP is concerned with staking her artistic platform to
activist action. For the most part, though, the confrontations she maps out are
more interior than openly polemic. Historian opens with “Night Shift,”
where she sings about shaking loose a romantic obsession, her voice as delicate
as an exhalation as she finds herself caught between longing and “resisting
urges to punch you in the teeth.”

These songs are confessional but not
diaristic, her lyrics sound like half of a conversation in which Dacus lets fly
with discursive bon mots about the more terrifying prospects of companionship
and community, anxiously poking around in the lingering wounds of bonds both
romantic and familial. “Who knew one day it would be so hard to have you
by my side?” Dacus sings on “Addictions.” These are glorious
little ghost stories wrapped up in love songs, where the 23-year-old artist
seems to be weighing who she’s becoming versus what she’s inherited. For all
its keen lyricism, Historian ultimately floats on a sea of fuzz, rich with
small melodic details and the sort of glorious guitar heroics that indie rock
is often much too modest for. It’s music that bears the weight of the critical
accolades heaped on her upstart 2017 debut No Burden rather beautifully.
Dacus and her band sound emboldened, confident, like kids who are thrilled they
still have something to prove.

In This Article: Lucy Dacus

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