Imagine if Lana Del Rey lived in a lighthouse, basing her songs around piano arrangements that twinkle like grey-navy waves. Imagine if Joni Mitchell rowed out to sea, delivering a lament that goes as deep as where the anglerfish swim. Imagine if the place where the sea and forest meet made a song.
This is what Dartmouth folk artist Blue Lobelia’s latest album, May 2022’s Resilient Moon, sounds like.
That multi-instrumentalist Rachel Bruch chose to name her musical project after a flower—a wildflower, no less—is a tell in and of itself: There’s a new-romantic-meets-cottagecore sensibility in this album that’s broken into suites based on phases of the moon. What makes it one of the year’s best offerings, though, is Bruch’s ability to deliver something tender and delicate without ever sounding syrupy, simpering or brittle. As her airy voice soars in a way that calls early-career Feist to mind, its wings flit and beat, sweeping up listeners without swaddling.
In 2019, when Bruch released her last Blue Lobelia project, The Coast dubbed it the album of the year, noting its tenderness and sincerity were a perfect antidote to the ironic, detachment-draped sonic landscape of the moment. Here, Resilient Moon doubles down on all that made 2019’s Beneath All Bloom good. It’s music for healing and for keeping hope’s flame lit: “You are worthy of your laughter/You are both before and after” sings Bruch on album standout “Holding (First Quarter Moon)”, a track that should be in the running for your anthem for 2023 :“Your pleasure can be guiding/You’re soft and getting softer.”