Label: Matador Records
Released: 26th February 2021
As the long-awaited follow up to ‘Turn Out the Lights’, this album feels desperate to not retread old ground.
Sonically, ‘Little Oblivions’ is more expansive; consciously layered with synth, banjos, mandolin and drums to avoid any familiarity with the stark, vulnerable sound of Julien Baker’s previous work.
The result has its hits and misses. The hardest-hitting moments of deep self-reflection are sometimes cushioned by the extra commotion. But, when joined by her boygenius compatriots on ‘Favour’ and in the closer ‘Ziptie’, the colour added to the tracks has fleeting moments of magic.
For an artist celebrated for her startlingly honest, emotional, biographical songwriting, it’s ‘Song in E’ – a moving duet between herself and the piano about the ways alcohol acts as a catalyst to toxicity – where she is at her most devastating. It’s a bold step forward.