Juliette Lewis

Terra Incognita

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Abandoning her longtime backing band the Licks, Juliette Lewis dials down the aggression, amps up the introspection, and adds a dose of weirdness on her third album, Terra Incognita. As always, what Lewis wants to achieve is apparent and admirable, but not necessarily quite what is achieved. PJ Harvey and Patti Smith remain touchstones, but she relies heavily on both blues and atmosphere, moving away from the churning, ominous vamps and explosions of aggression and toward a leaner, streamlined sound. Unlike its predecessors, Terra Incognita doesn't feel overly indebted to her idols; rather, it feels like Lewis is finally distilling those influences into her own signature, one where her love for PJ and Patti is still transparent, one that still relies too heavily on awkward gutter poetry, but one that conveys her own world view, for better or for worse.

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