Album Review: Lomelda – ‘Hannah’
Posted: by The Editor
Texas musician Hannah Read has been releasing warm, visceral songs under the name Lomelda since 2016. Much like the project’s name, which Read has said is a made-up word meaning “the echo of the stars,” its songs are ethereal. It’s not uncommon for them to be as forceful as a scream, but delivered just above a whisper. Read has never needed to overdo anything to get her point across. On Hannah, her newest LP, Read has taken the intimate nature of her songwriting even further. Much of its content feels pressed against her soul. Her words may be audible to us, but they’re being sung for her. The record was recorded and scrapped three separate times, and that commitment to getting things just right more than paid off.
This is especially true of “Hannah Sun.” The record’s final single is possibly the best thing Read has ever done. Thematically about a struggle to connect with others, she sings of a life full of travel and seems to leave pieces of herself in each city named. The wistful mood builds before all falls away but Read’s voice. The last line “Hannah, do no harm” is one that will immediately catch you. Read is reminding herself of this, but it makes you look reflexively at your own behavior. Read’s name-checking on the closer, the tranquil “Hannah Please,” focuses less on her connecting to other people, but to the world at large. It leaves us with a promise, “Swear I try / I’ll be sky / Somehow.”
Read’s previous record M for Empathy was notably sparse in its arrangement, with no drums throughout. This approach has been sidelined here, and some of the record’s finest moments reach the heights they do precisely because of their percussion. Songs like “Both Mode” and “Reach” are made into proper rock songs that shift and build.
“It’s Lomelda” moves at the pace of contemplation and touches on the names of two artists who seem to be vague influences on the record itself. Frankie Cosmos is the more obvious parallel, with their similarly floating indie rock arrangements. Despite their musical differences, I still see echoes of Frank Ocean, particularly in how he’s able to capture emotion. The mood in Read’s voice, like Ocean’s own delivery, is so palpable that you experience them feeling the weight of their own words. Take the lyrics in one of Hannah’s highlights, “It’s Infinite.” They don’t paint the complete picture, only giving us brief glimpses into the world Read is encountering, but we still get a feel for how she feels interacting with it. We still understand what she is understanding at that moment.
Hannah is from its title to its execution, the most thoughtful self-titled record in recent memory. So often eponymous releases are used as a filler in a band’s later career, no reason behind it, just a lack of creativity. Hannah is a letter to Read herself, full of mantras to live by, and is truly named after herself. She could have named it after the project, but giving it her first name is even more poignant.
Disappointing / Average/ Good/ Great / Phenomenal
Eric Bennett | @seething_coast
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