I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over at the label Deeper Well in Portland, Oregon, but it’s definitely something good. Holly Ann, an artist you need to listen to and follow (if you aren’t already familiar with her), released an album this past Christmas, and it’s so good, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review and share with you Light & Bloom. Holly Ann’s second release comes five years after her critically acclaimed album; Ravens. Produced by Evan Way and Danny O’Hanlon, this album captures exceptional nuances in Holly Ann’s craft of songwriting, as well as the intimacy of knowing Christ.
Light & Bloom opens with the exquisite and haunting “Carry You.” The dulcet tones from Holly Ann’s voice and then married to a track that sounds like flowers in bloom in a distant field, feels like the Savior carrying the listener. Beautifully crafted, Light & Bloom flows from there on. Just a few tracks in, I found myself entering into “Lion’s Den.” This track delicately dances in with a trip hop feel. With the lyrical prowess of a mature singer songwriter, Holly Ann is everything someone would want out of Tori Amos if she was a Christian artist singing about faith. This track is excellent, detailing the straying of a walk with Christ, but defining His faithfulness.
The honesty in the track “River’s End” is breathtaking! Holly Ann again tackles a difficult topic being a Christian but using Christ only when we ‘need Him.’ Lyrics like “I only call you when I’m losing, I only need you when I’m high and dry, like a cigarette, or a bottle my friend…” have the potential to strike a listener right in the feels.
As deeply honest as Holly Ann is in Light & Bloom, it stems from an apparent deep understanding of the love of God. “Sweet Peace,” “First Love,” and “Right on Time” exemplify this with extraordinarily bareness, and beauty.
While there is a continuity in the sounds and types of sounds, there is a definite flow to the album that takes the listener on a journey of self examination and reflection. While this is a personal album from Holly Ann, it’s extremely accessible for people of faith in Christ. Whether she’s using sounds that would be familiar to fans of secular artists like Mazzy Star or Emmy Lou Harris, Light & Bloom is firmly placed in the foundations of Christ.
Most of the tracks feel they have a definite purpose and place, and where a listener would start to lose focus, the production picks up, or the sounds are varied, or Holly Ann surprises you with a new melody. Experimental and ambient in nature, this album has a very familiar feel to it. If all this sounds like it would appeal to you, get it.
Holly Ann’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hollyannmusic/
Holly Ann’s Bandcamp page: http://hollyann.bandcamp.com/album/light-bloom
Deeper Well: http://deeper-well.com/artists/holly-ann/