ALBUM: “Acquainted with Night” by Lael Neale
RELEASE YEAR: 2021
LABEL: Sub Pop Records
BEST TRACKS: “How Far Is It to the Grave”, “For No One Now”, “Some Sunny Day”
Lael Neale is a Virginia native and current L.A. resident. “Acquainted with Night” is her second album she has released, with “I’ll Be Your Man” being released back in 2015. She made all the music for “Acquainted with Night” in California and all of the videos in her hometown in Virginia, as stated on her Bandcamp page.
The album mainly consists of her airy, wispy vocals and the Omnichord, which she picked up to create “Acquainted with Night”. I would consider the tracks to fall into the lo-fi indie pop genre for the most part, as we can hear the crackle of the recording instruments often. All the tracks are filled with existential questioning and beautiful imagery.
“How Far Is It to the Grave” is easily one of the most unique tracks on the album. The twinkling of Neale’s Omnichord brings me immediately into the light of the moon. The track is filled with the ponderings of an assortment of characters, who all question how much time they have left in their lives. In its eerie beauty, Neale responds, “It’s only a life dear friend, dear friend”.
In “For No One Now”, Neale leads us on a positive journey. Forget everything that makes you worry and take whatever you desire in life. This anthem shines bright in the lonely, sunny mornings. This song is hope and love jumbled together, which celebrates the best of days in all their glory.
My third favorite track is “Some Sunny Day”. The Omnichord’s ever-present hum of a few simple notes helps highlight Lale Neale’s vocals and lyricism. Also, a rare guitar appearance for this album is present, which adds a pleasant vibration. This track looks towards the future and holds the present in a melancholic state. Neale again looks to hope and destiny as her savior.
The Other Bits:
Now, the rest of this album is also extremely enjoyable, but some tracks aren’t nearly as distinct and loveable as the three songs mentioned above. For example I lump “Sliding Doors & Warm Summer Roses”, “Third Floor Window” and “Let Me Live Down by the Side of the Road” into a ball of comfort. I like listening to these songs, but it’s hard for me to pick them apart from each other.
I didn’t want to include too many songs in my favorites section, but some honorable mentions are “Every Star Shivers in the Dark”, “Blue Vein” and the title track “Acquainted with Night”. Each of these songs are gorgeous, but don’t strike me the same as my picks above.
Overall, this album is a great set of tunes to listen to in the morning or late in the evening as the sun is setting, especially for all you lo-fi lovers out there. I personally love to put on “Some Sunny Day” while I water my plants. This album reminds me why I like the lo-fi genre’s simplicity. It feels so welcoming and homely that I can snuggle up and enjoy hot coffee or tea and watch pretty white clouds float on by in peace.
Lael Neale released a new song earlier this year, “Hotline”, which you can check out on her Bandcamp, if you feel so inclined. I am excited to see where her career ends up next, and I hope my love of this album can inspire y’all to enjoy her music too.