Historian

In the relatively small pool of Richmond, Virginia, indie-rock songwriter Lucy Dacus made ripples with her warm, wise No Burden, which was released on the regional EggHunt label. An indie-label bidding war ensued, and she made the jump to the internationally esteemed outfit Matador Records. She makes her entrance with “Night Shift,” an opening track that stretches over six minutes and takes four before it really kicks in. The song serves as a fresh start not just for her career, but for her life. After breaking up with her boyfriend (and bassist) of years, the song announces, “You’ve got a nine-to-five so I’ll take the night shift/And I’ll never see you again.” Through the entire album, Dacus continues to explore transitions, connections, and the push and pull between people. Her singing remains smooth and honey-kissed, and she has a gift for composition. On “Yours & Mine,” she braids melodic phrases and vocal harmonies together, arcing them upward until they hit the heavens. However, her ambition and talent feels constrained by the rock-band dynamic. She deploys reverberating guitar chords and the quiet-to-loud dynamic well enough to suggest that her live shows are probably dynamite, but it feels like a limited palette for her songwriting range. She has made two powerful records, but signs point to greater growth to come.