Lucy Dacus has always had an attitude. Her debut 2016 album No Burden was rich with moodiness, lyrically exploring an empathetic fear of hiding peoples’s unexpressed identities. The problem with No Burden however, was not its attitude – It was its ironic reluctance to instrumentally express it.
Call me crazy for classifying Lucy Dacus’s 2016 debut as reserved, but her 2018 album Historian filled in every noisy blank that No Burden left empty. In fact, the entire album strongly reflects Dacus’s history as a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s film program. Most songs stick to a structured pattern of slow, story-setting beginnings; persuasive rising actions; and irresistibly energetic climaxes. Additionally, Dacus had a lot more outside influence in building a band-centric sound around her initially quiet solo work. It’s as if the director for Dacus’s music heard No Burden and yelled “Cut! Good first take Lucy, but let’s give the next one a little more feeling.”
Dacus’s truest wins on Historian come from her ability to make tracks like “Timefighter”, “Yours & Mine”, and “Addictions” not only look brash, but sound it too. Her bold and boisterous lyrics are complimented by exclamatory drum patterns and triumphant riffs that scream life is still a beautiful, confusing mystery to Dacus. That instrumental support makes Dacus seem much more comfortable in her own skin, thus radiating a similar confidence among the listening public that there’s nothing wrong with expressing your identity.
Favorite Tracks: Yours & Mine, Timefighter, Addictions, Night Shift, Pillar of Truth.