by Joe Gutierrez (@j_gutierz)
“Have you heard this band Lomelda? Really beautiful stuff.” So read the closing line of an email from my new friend. I fell in love with the songs on 4E immediately. Beautiful, yes, and bright, like fireworks going off in the desert. It gave me the same sense of transcendence as Angel Olsen’s Strange Cacti- heart-melting and all-encompassing, almost painfully so. I jumped at the chance to write about Hannah Read’s next step, this monumentally gorgeous addition to the Lomelda catalogue. Lemme tell you- I’ve listened to Thx a lot. On road trips and in parking lots and at the breakfast table of a kitchen in Bed-Stuy. Walking the avenues and cul-de-sacs of my suburban town in the dim hour before sunrise, it’s soundtracked me running face-first into overnight crafted spider webs, mouthing “good morning” to dog-walkers, and gazing upon the freshly sunlit skyline propped up by palm trees. Thx has crept up and squeezed into the crevices of my existence. It now plays on a shuffling and staggered loop inside my head all day, every day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The words of songs on Lomelda’s Thx are more than just lyrics... it’s as if all the pages of Hannah Read’s hypothetical diaries have been torn out during a thunderstorm, allowed to ride upon the wind ‘til they land smack dab against glass windows of diners and cafes for sad and solitary patrons in need. And somehow, every song still plays like letters to a dear friend- intimate, close, and vital revelations. Read lets us into whatever travels through her bones, some deep, deep yearning and awe and wonder at the state of things. The vocals on this record hold a certain intense power, words lifted high and sunk deep, hitting the emotional bullseye we’re all hoping for when we press play on something new.
Measures in it’s hypnotically clear how Thx sets itself apart from your run-of-the-mill indie rock and folk records. There’s the way Lomelda constructs deep breaths and sighs, breaking from the music to blow up a bubble of sweet anticipatory silence, only to dive head first back into the sound. There’s Zach Daniels’ drums, maneuvered with such craft and skill, complementing Read’s strummed strings, tapped keys, and pivoting vocals as if there was some psychic connection between the two. Every song rides a nuanced and unique groove, locking in like a well-oiled machine when it needs to, slightly crossing into the next lane when what’s called for is a little mixing up. You’ve got the conjured up atmospherics, whether it’s the ending of “Nvr”- which sounds like a rattlesnake vibrating across a steel-string guitar drenched in drone and dotted with velvety sweet piano- or the outro of “Bam Sha Klam”- something like the score to a satellite slowly drifting in space, looping the tender mantric intentions set forth for what comes next.
The sentiments and stories within Thx suggest a person confident in their boundaries- what they’re able to supply for others and what they’re certain they need to keep to themselves. Somebody who has reflected and learned and evolved. There’s a clear maturity in that sense of responsibility for one’s emotions. Lessons of love and longing, of being bold and honest and true. And as Read relays all that to us through songwriting, we’re able to internalize it, to grow and feel more confident in what we can express ourselves. I’m convinced a piece of art with that sort of power is worth wading into and soaking up all you can.