Bringing back Something's Changing (2017) producer Tim Bidwell for her fourth album, No Words Left, singer/songwriter Lucy Rose remains in the intimate, hushed acoustic sphere of her third release. It soon becomes evident, however, that, while stylistically similar, No Words Left is a more somber, heartbroken outing. First track "Conversation" establishes minor intervals and a gentle, woebegone tone from its opening picked-acoustic guitar and partly dissonant, spare strings. Meanwhile, Rose's resigned vocals seem to come from the adjoining sofa cushion rather than any kind of performance when she confesses "No one loves me quite like you do/But no one lets me down like you do." The song eventually adds instruments like piano and vintage electric piano to its eerie soundscape. Elsewhere, songs like "Treat Me Like a Woman" and "Save Me from Your Kindness" build likewise elegantly textured arrangements that still seem as quiet as rain or that would notice the subtle scrape of a stool against the kitchen floor. That's despite the fact that the latter song is built upon electric guitar. In fact, there's a deceptively large list of instruments represented here, ranging from strings, woodwinds, and percussion to electric guitar, organ and synths. The brief "No Words Left, Pt. 1" has vocals but no words, adding Rose's tuneful wail to a psychedelic swirl of strummed acoustic guitar and improvisational double bass, piano, congas, and other, harder-to-identify timbres. The instrumental "Just a Moment" is the album's lone solo acoustic guitar track. In addition to its tone and palette, unifying No Words Left is an overarching loneliness expressed in titles like "Solo(w)" and "Nobody Comes Round Here." When the album closes with the lucid "Song After Song" ("Song after song after song all about me and my misery…"), it's a touching, unexpectedly hummable end to a set that's intricate yet understated, and sad yet comforting.
No Words Left Review
by Marcy Donelson