Falling back into place

Lauren Hoffman has been making music for a couple decades, and each foray finds her wandering in different directions. I reviewed an album of hers almost 18 years ago (From the Blue House) and there are few similarities on the surface. That album was folky blues (or bluesy folk), and this one trends more toward Nick Cave-y doom pop. But there are a few clear indentifiers.

Lauren Hoffman & the Secret Storm
Family Ghost

Hoffman knows how to use her voice. It isn't the most supple or distinctive instrument around, but she pushes it into areas it probably isn't made to inhabit. Similarly, the music isn't cut-and-dried. There's always something else going on in the background. Hoffman writes layered lyrics, and her music holds that complexity as well.

Another point in common is that I can feel anticipation as each new song starts. I want to hear what comes next. I don't get that even on some albums that I love. But even on repeat listens, Hoffman inspires desire in my ears.

Maybe she hasn't been the big star she wanted to be. I'd say Hoffman has accomplished even more: Consistently creating great music. Fame is fickle and fleeting, but good music lasts forever. This album just might as well.

Jon Worley

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