February 18th, 2011 | Album reviews

Dan Kern

Emily Lacy “Dawn”
(From her self-released LP Country Singer)

I’m wrapped up in the idea of Emily Lacy and her comforting voice, and the strange, beautiful ways she pronounces words. “Take” turns me into little particles, the ghost of reverb following behind her elongated vowels and pinched syllables. I whistle along with the simple guitar melody and occasionally grasp an image or feeling as it passes. Emily Lacy is a beacon of light and joy, but her album is full of loneliness and alienation. In these songs she’s constantly on the verge of dissolving, melting or breaking apart. She’s talking country-style wisdom, but it’s set in the cosmos and nebulous states of being and matter. It’s like Iris Dement and Linda Perhacs fused together. The world is born and destroyed in the span of each song. “Dawn” is epic; it made me cry. It’s the unraveling of existence, a creation myth, the battle of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, or possibly that’s all just a fancy way of describing a girl that opens up and gets her feelings hurt. She begins as a square shadow, and then a window appears. She’s pulled through. Over seven minutes she passes through the vortex of the mind, becomes rock, then body, then liquid trembling “like the jellies in the sea.” Then she’s swimming. Then she’s spirit then she’s the universe. She speaks of some simple everyday sensation but in the language of transcendence, zooming in and out on nature and self-reflection. A vocal flourish drifts by, like a grain of pollen that lands on a leaf being chewed by the universe.

—Daiana Feuer