Review of Death Loves Veronica “Lucid Dream”

http://www.veronicacampbellofficial.com/

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/

Going to try something a little new for our review of the latest release of Death Loves Veronica. Katy and I are both big fans but both come from fairly different backgrounds. So we are going to do a duel review. Listening to the songs separately and not discussing. Then posting our thoughts here to feel this album through a couple lenses.

Overall Impressions:

Katy – I really enjoyed this album from beginning to end. The album is dynamic with different feelings associated with every song. Each track had its notable mentions, but a few really resonated with me in a long term way. Spending a bunch of time in my apartment makes me really appreciate albums that keep me wanting more. Death Loves Veronica is an amazing project that creates some of the best music for the timing of my life. This album was exactly what I needed and I’m so grateful it exists. 

 

Ken – I have been waiting for this record for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Veronica’s work for a while and she really took time with this one. It just bleeds soul and internal honesty. I think what left me so struck was how it had a powerful moody synth feel, but the vocals really showed her Texas style. I heard a real rich story teller feel of Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline. It fills a real void in the current scene and I found my mind often getting lost in the narrative of the songs. It has a moderate pace that grinds and builds and really throws a smokey spotlight on the journey and reflection.

 

What did it make us feel? :

Katy – Each song evoked a different kind of feeling, but overall I felt fulfilled. Some of the songs made me smile, others made me think deeply because the music or words felt relatable. I found myself gazing at the wall adjacent thinking of my teen years and how these songs feel just as relatable now as they would have then. 

Ken- I love the way Katy said it was related to her teenage years. For me I kept finding myself dwelling on a more mature voice reflecting on the wounds and lessons of the past carried with us into modern experience. I think it says a lot about a song writer when she can send an emotion and have the same basic concept touch different listeners through different lenses. These songs felt so solitary and sending communication across the world to someone lost. Obviously this hit hard in the modern world.

Blood King:

Katy- This song has layers. Blood King has a spooky vibe from the riff on the organ to the story being dictated vocally. Generally, the song has a very rock and roll feel to it, the kind that makes your feet move and your head bop despite being minimalistic musically. The first time I listened through it, that’s basically what I walked away feeling. Like, “Wow, that was a fun track!” Then I listened to the words closer and realized how incredibly dark the song is. 

Ken – I love the spooky organ on the opening. It really sets up this villainous character . Then the chorus kicks up the drums and torments the protagonist with a spectral voice telling us you can’t escape. Sizzingly buzzy guitars, I love the difference and range between the two vocal styles.

I Came Here For You:

Katy – This song is one of my favorites on the album. I don’t know how to feel when I listen to it. It’s very sexy in one regard, but once again has an overall feeling of creepiness. It’s almost like it’s the standpoint of the predator from Blood King instead of being from the standpoint of the victim. Once again, this song has a rock and roll feel to it that makes you move, but this track has a lot more mischief in its instrumentation. There’s a riff on a bass synth that gives the song more of a feeling or pursuit. The chorus is huge sounding and direct lyrically. Suddenly, you no longer feel like you’re quickly walking down a streetlight lit sidewalk, but in a people filled nightclub.

Ken- Hard agree Katy, this is such a jam. It’s slow and smokey. Those tiny pin prick finger taps crawl on your spine. This really has that sultry sexy soul to the vocals. This is a song of power, stalking, both a fear and admiration. I really heard a story, not of love, but of apprenticeship. I desire to touch danger, not to be with it, but to remake yourself with it’s aspect. That chorus is such a massive hit with the wall of sound on the guitar, but the tempo never increases. It leaves such a striking feeling of being stunned in your tracks.

Alone:

Katy – This is a slower ballad that revolves around lost, love. This is one of the tracks that makes me remember all those messy breakups from when I was younger. “I can’t dance all night without you.” I get that. I feel that. This song has an overall melancholy tone instrumentally with a heartbreaking chorus. Though it is somber, it’s still a pop song, so the synths add a little glee to the mix. Whether it’s the lyrics or the instrumentation, there’s something in this song to cling to and feel some kind of relatable feeling with. 

Ken- That snare is hitting so crisp. Veronica is using a airy and and distant voice in the intro. It really hits with a loveliness. The chorus line of “I can’t dance without you” is powerful and resonates something we have all felt. The forced facing of a memory which stings but also recalls the beauty of that moment. The background glitching static uses a cool sound effect to help add to the narrative. I love how much thought went into the composition of these songs. I am loving how in sync Katy and my take was here. I feel that speaks to how on target this song hits.

Witch:

Katy- “I am the witch, I will destroy you.” This song has me thinking of multiple movie plots that would all be very great and range from horror movies like “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” to a fierce empowerment flick about a woman done taking shit from some dude! Safe to say, this song gets me amped. It has a slower tempo but has huge synths and guitars making it anthemic. 

Ken- I really like the slow mystical groove on this one. Veronica does that wonderful sultry whisper, offset by a call back distorted voice to add broken glass edge. It has this cool LA almost Courtney Love feel, which for me is a huge compliment. I love Katy’s call out of how hard this hits for being a slow song. Use of dynamics to achieve a magical fireball to the face. Just dripping with bad ass feminine energy. This is a total last girl song.

Crushed:

Katy- This song is my favorite on the whole album. It’s so sad! The longing conveyed through this track is so impactful. The synths in the second verse wobble and create that tension and uneasiness, that discomfort… it’s the sounds of how I feel right now. This track also highlights how dynamically ranging this album is. Through most of this album, the songs are driving and poppy whereas this song has an almost lo-fi indie feel. Maybe it’s because most of the song revolves around a simple, but longing-sounding bassline. The things Veronica is saying are so simple and direct that they crush your heart. 

Ken- I knew right away why this was Katy’s favorite. Huge dreamy David Lynch vibes here. Almost a sinister surf shoegaze feel. Great transition at 1:30. The way the layers build here is so effective, just adding one piece at a time to keep the drive doing.

Closing thoughts?

Katy- I highly recommend this album. If you’ve been a follower of Death Loves Veronica, you should be excited. If you’re new to her work, check it out because it’s an incredible range of sound and influence. Death Loves Veronica has always been amazing at telling a story and really selling a scene and I’d debate this is the best landscape of those talents so far. Like I’ve said already, this was exactly what I needed right now. It’s not an album of the same thing over and over.  When the world feels like it’s falling apart, it’s reassuring to know that there’s anything to make it feel any better. Right now, there’s a ton of amazing art and music being made and we’re so incredibly lucky to be able to listen and share it. 

Ken- Hard agree, as someone who is already a fan of her work this album was my favorite so far front to back. It’s all the things she does well, done better. The concepts are direct and narrative. The vocals a slow drink of premium whiskey. More than anything though the way she uses a minimal amount of sounds to layer perfectly to add flesh and blood to the story of her words. I hear a lot of the soul power of a Chelsea Wolfe, with an electronic and intricate design. Doing more with less to tell the story of a journey to the past and back again.

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