Louise Lemón offers a deeply stirring, personal account of attempting to hang on in the midst of a storm of love on her newest album, A Broken Heart is an Open Heart, out March 15 via the aptly named Swedish label Icons Creating Evil Art. The album centers around Louise’s work as a singer/songwriter, but while remaining minimalist, it ultimately extends into impressive sonic territory well outside that of the familiar image of a single person and their guitar. Continuously, in a strikingly straightforward fashion, the music feels like it’s reaching up towards heaven, so to speak, offering senses of triumph that function as sort of bookends for Lemón’s newest work.
In between those high points, Lemón scrapes the bottom of a curious mental cavern, walking straight on through what the religiously inclined might call the valley of the shadow of death with confidence that the listener can’t help but get infused by. In both the thematic content and the melodic constructions, she presents both via her music and her voice, A Broken Heart is an Open Heart feels infused with a sort of resignation to, and even some acceptance of, the “underworld,” which can be subtly invigorating.
Her music points out from the listener instead of milling around itself, with a fitting sense of majesty hiding between each note and line, pushing them ever-outward. She draws from a deep wellspring of soul, distilling what boils within many of us into something that’s not palatable in the sense of oversimplified, but rather, simply feels digestible and comprehensible in the first place. What might have previously been overwhelming feels fittingly graspable in Lemón’s hands, as if she’s some sort of dark guide leading listeners through a somehow real form of mystic arts. Her work feels much less focused on other people’s musical standards than it is on taking the listener along for a journey, letting various, soulful rock styles bleed in when the time is right.
Thematically, with that personal element sticking out above the mix, Lemón’s music reverberates with a contrast between the personal and the “other,” which in this case is a love interest at the other end of a complicated relationship, but it returns, in the end, to the “self” with a simply refreshing confidence that sits atop a swath of music, supporting it perfectly.