Release Date: Feb 22, 2019
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In following up 2016's excellent Beyond the Bloodhounds, Adia Victoria both deepens her arresting Southern poeticism and takes a significant sonic leap beyond her indie blues origins. On Silences, the singer/songwriter's sophomore set, the melting pot of swampy blues, folk, and garage punk that marked her debut has given way to a more exploratory and layered approach. Recording in Upstate New York with co-producer Aaron Dessner (the National), Victoria frames her 12 varied missives against a backdrop of subtle electronic noise, austere string and brass orchestrations, and tensely cinematic indie rock.
A period of personal reflection on an "intimate level" which included, of all things, some light reading (the album's title is lifted from a '70s novel by Tillie Olsen) inspires South Carolina-born Adia Victoria's second album 'Silences'. It's clear her down time was fruitful, even if some of the pickings were rotten: the salvation of 'Bring it Back', ("It feels like I'm alive again", Victoria announces), curdles next to the rancour of 'Dope Queen Blues' and 'Devil is a Lie', where she admits "I like the things that make me hurt" and meditates on her past drug use. Bedevilled lyrical content aside, it's the construction of the record that impresses most.
A dia Victoria, based in Nashville, has been insistent that the music she makes is the blues: not Americana, or indie rock, or any of the other styles that she might be pigeonholed into. It's not blues in the sense of adopting the 12-bar shuffle, more that it draws on the themes that have affected her as a woman of colour in the south: race, religion (she was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church), powerlessness and oppression. Silences, her second album, traces those ideas through the story of one woman experiencing them, though - as with most themed albums - you wouldn't necessarily know that unless you'd been told.