The ‘Hand Off Gretel’ frontwoman takes a pause from her swiftly soaring group to turn in a well-fashioned folk-rock infused debut record, filled with a welcome abundance of character and intimacy.
In 2019 we find ourselves locked in an era where the relentlessness of a band’s tour schedule is ever increasing in tandem with the frequency of the output of full-length records decreasing. Yet Lauren Tate proves it’s possible to do both with her debut solo record “Songs For Sad Girls”, released in the midst of a busy “Hands Off Gretel” touring period and in the same year as she delivered another superb debut album for the aforementioned group.
Whilst sonically the resemblance between her solo work and “Hands Off Gretel” is limited the two records are related via Tate’s trademark powerful vocals and a few scattered references to her band’s commendable work. Placed in a new setting the strength and breadth of the vocals becomes more apparent than ever before, walking hand in hand perfectly with well-versed lyrics that traverse topics such as the complexity of women’s role in modern-day society and the rawer emotions surrounding love and all it’s many factors and layers. The vibrancy and intimacy of her words are so apparent it feels as if they could have been freshly lifted from the delicate pages of a secret diary.
As mentioned prior this album steers clear of a lot of the sonic territory which Tate’s group has embarked forth into previously and instead we find her exploring terrains filled with pianos and littered with acoustic guitars. Here we get a taste of her softer side, in particular, songs such as “Miss American Perfect Body” exemplifying it best. It’s a delight to see Tate taking a turn in this direction and even more welcome as she brings us on a wonderful journey through it.
This is an album filled with brutal up-front honesty, both in its topics discussed and in terms of the bold musical choices taken. Yet throughout the record Tate always remains empowered and feels like a strong figurehead and role model for future women and girls embarking into the music industry. Her debut record is a fantastic dive into a region closer to acoustic than her previous alt-rock roots and leaves one eager to see where her musical progression will bring us next!
Tate will be supporting ‘Ginger ‘Wildheart and the Sinners’ in Glasgow and Aberdeen on 14th and 15th of November respectively.