Lomelda’s third studio album, “M is for Empathy,” is a look into the joys and sorrows of artist Hannah Read since her 2017 release “Thx.” Read, originally from the small town of Silsbee, Texas, has recently moved to Los Angeles and gone on tour with major indie artists Frankie Cosmos and Snail Mail.
I’ve been hooked on Lomelda since I first reviewed “Thx” early in my time at Radio 1190. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of seeing her twice — once with a full band at the South by Southwest music conference last year and once as a solo performer at the Fox Theater here in Boulder.
Known for her passionate singing and emotional songwriting, Read may not stray from her standard sound with “M is for Empathy,” but she certainly improves upon it. Read’s ability to convey deeply personal feelings through her music cements her as one of the best indie artists at the moment. The music of Lomelda invokes a nostalgic sorrow that’s hard to escape. The record is short and sweet, clocking in at about 16 minutes, so there’s no excuse not to give the entire thing a listen. That being said, my favorite tracks are “Talk,” “Tell” and “Slide.”
“Talk,” the first track on the album, sets the classic Lomelda mood right away. Read’s voice carries the melody of the song while a simple but beautiful guitar harmony keeps the song moving. Lomelda’s best moments are often found in simplicity, and “Talk” is a great example of this.
“Tell” is one of the most layered songs on “M is for Empathy.” Multiple guitar and vocal parts are layered on top of one another to create the most active and exciting song on the album. The call and response of Read’s vocals portray two characters: one who implores the other to open up and the other who refuses to do so. Even though there are just two main lines in the song, deep layers of emotion are portrayed. The song tells a story of an intimate relationship that isn’t as emotionally transparent as desired. This song portrays both sides of this familiar story. As the song quiets down, we see the wear of this dialogue on the relationship portrayed until it eventually withers away.
In “Slide,” Read tells an incredibly personal story of a coincidental phone call that prevented her suicide. While it’s musically one of the happier songs on the album, the lyrics tell a different story. She tells of a time in a hotel in the Midwest where she wants to visit an unnamed person in Chicago, somebody who’s obviously associated with bad memories. She was caught up in an array of tragic feelings, but then she was interrupted by the aforementioned phone call, which ended up saving her life.
“M is for Empathy’s” short run leaves me wanting more, but not in a bad way. I wasn’t aware of an upcoming release from Lomelda, but I was overjoyed when I saw it in my inbox. I’m as excited as ever about Lomelda, and I’m excited to give her discography another listen before I see her at South by Southwest next week.
Askari is a music director at Radio 1190. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists