I love it when a song can elevate you from what you expect it to be, but only slightly, subtly.
This new track from Laura Jean‘s new self-titled album manages to do that. It is soft, and heart-wrenching, and story-telling to a tee.
There’s something about when the drums kick in though that adds this very slight stilted nature to it all. I think it might be the early snare hit in the groove coupled with Laura’s syncopated vocals, but it’s something that, if you’re properly listening to it, makes your ears prick a bit. It adds this extra layer to Laura’s ‘First Love Song’, something that in and of itself is different to her previous work – whilst you could argue that some of her earlier songs have been about love (2011’s ‘Missing You‘ being a case in point), ‘First Love Song’ is direct.
The story-telling nature, and incredibly personalised, emotional lyrics, detail a sense of doubt that perhaps we all have in these situations –
‘You’d just made a film in which you’d asked your best friend
to hit you in the face, again and again.
You were very concussed and felt drunk for days.
Were you open to me because your brain had somehow changed?’
The doubt, the heart-on-sleeve story-telling, the minimal, almost lullaby-esque instrumentation bring out an incredible honesty in Laura. And whilst it is a love song – it is ultimately about meeting someone new, there is this strange comfortableness in this notion of being heart-broken and then the sense of despair that seems to accompany the subsequent relationship.
Laura has worked with John Parish on this album over in the UK. The album also features the vocals of Jenny Hval right throughout, a rather prominent Norwegian singer-songwriter who actually had a bit of success here in Australia about 10 years ago. Those ‘ah, ah ah ah, ah’ bits in ‘First Love Song’ are Jenny’s.