NOT EVEN HAPPINESS
You can imagine Julie Byrnes having dreamt these songs, then awaking in the wee hours to hurriedly jot down them down. Her voice, mostly just riding on her own charming acoustic guitar, subtle electronics and Jake Falby’s restrained string arrangements, seems to float in an ether high above the worldly concerns of which she sings. The effect is quite uncanny, as though she is having an out-of-body experience, and is gazing down on her own enigmas of the heart and visions of creation with a soft-focus detachment.
Deepening the mystery is a flair for unearthly imagery, as with these lines from Follow My Voice: “The clouds are passing by on by, my darling / Your eyes are breathing / I’ve seen them in the light.” Such moments leap from every song, and all the while you sense a rare refinement in how the words and music have been married that is almost worthy of Leonard Cohen. Yet despite the prevailing ethereality Bryne’s second album also joins the rich American history of road songs. A stunning achievement.