sun 05/07/2020

CD: Lissie - Back to Forever | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lissie - Back to Forever

CD: Lissie - Back to Forever

Folk-pop chanteuse finally comes good on second album

Lissie's versatile, bluesy voice is the star of the show on 'Back to Forever'

Open letters are so passe. There’s a track on Back to Forever, the second album from folk-pop crossover star-in-the-making Lissie, that addresses the recent shenanigans of Miley Cyrus and her ilk as well as the singer’s own place in the music industry. “I stole your magazine, the one with the beauty queen on the front,” she sings in that glorious, smoky voice of hers, half mocking, half angry. “I don’t want to be famous if I got to be shameless.”

And yet wouldn’t a Lissie take on “We Can’t Stop”, all midwest drawl and laidback swagger, be the greatest thing? It’s easy to imagine: the singer is probably better known for her fantastic reinterpretations of Kid Cudi and Lady Gaga on YouTube than her 2010 Columbia debut, Catching a Tiger. It was an album that disappointed, forcing poppy production upon songs that, when they first appeared online, seemed to herald an exciting new voice - but three years on, having embraced that cleaner sound completely, Lissie might just be about to live up to that potential.

Opening track “The Habit” blows the album wide open: it’s a breathless rocker that likens the first blush of falling in love to far less savoury addictions, with a chorus as giddy as those feelings. But as the song fades out the real star of the album makes itself known: Lissie’s bluesy voice, capable of running the range from raw and ragged to just plain good fun. She gets plenty of chances to show both sides of her range across the album; over birdsong on the haunting title track, rocking her rage across the chorus of “Shameless” and stirring up a singalong on mischievous drinking song “I Don’t Wanna Go To Work”. The poppier tracks don’t make enough of her startling vocals, which makes the subtleties of “Mountaintop Removal” a rarity on the album, but it’s hard to listen to new single “Sleepwalking” - a pick-yourself-up heartbreak song - and not smile.

Watch the video for "Sleepwalking" overleaf

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