Ear to the Sound: Erika Lundahl's Right Back at You
Erika Lundahl's new album, Right Back at You, is an ambitious, powerful collection of songs that tap into much of the rage of our times while shining a light on the activism that has risen up in response to pervasive social injustices. The album is as much a precipitation of Lundahl's emotions as it is a crystallization of the voices and frustrations of our generation. But Right Back at You is also an outstanding display of musicianship centered on Lundahl's strong songwriting and keen sense of melody.
"If you're not grieving, I don't know how to talk to you," Lundahl tenderly acknowledges on the track "17 Days". On "Step by Step", Lundahl echoes the sentiment "You're angry and it's honesty". But there is also a reaffirmation of love with messages of hope interspersed throughout Right Back at You, with the title track resounding messages of joyous love. Throughout the album, Lundahl's voice is the brush that paints a wide breadth of emotions in lush sonic textures.
Even beyond the poignant and relevant ideological messages that resonate throughout Right Back at You, the album is a moving collection of superbly written songs executed by musicianship that is both precise and passionate. The album feels as though it encapsulates, but also transcends the political environment that surrounds it, with songs that feel timeless and ageless.
The production is sparse, leaving an organic, acoustic energy that is stark, but powerful. Every nuance and subtle textural note of Lundahl's voice is discernible, transparently transmiting the emotions of each song. But the soundscape of Right Back at You is still round and full. That's in no small part due to mutli-instrumentalist Isaac Castillo, who is a big part of this effort. Castillo's bass is the perfect companion for the songwriting and production. Castillo also plays Wurlitzer, with an impressive display on the track "Bartered Time". He brings a high level of musicianship with incredible licks that never outshine the songs or their poignant messages.
In summary, Erika Lundahl's new effort, Right Back at You, is just the right music that we need to resonate with the anger and indignation of our times, and also to celebrate the courage of the voices that persist and rise above the din of corporate and capitalist interests. But regardless of the ideological implications, it's also a wonderful album and a compelling musical journey.