Old Flames by Lace is a summery, light and crisp album that tantalizes the audio senses. The album's name in itself is reflected in the content - odes to old relationships and how they made the artist feel. The first song “Velvet” is hosted by a classical piano and the stunning bird song voice of Lace. She has a warble like a morning songbird that breaks open the day at those soft golden, morning hours. The piano is emotional and sentimental. The lyrics are sweet and simple. "You are like velvet/You are like starlight."
This song must be referring to reminiscing about the beginning stages of a love affair. It is soft and cuddly, makes you feel like there isn't any bad in the world. Perhaps she hasn't gotten into the flaws of the person yet. “Common Sense” is a gorgeous ballad with a more Hawaiian ukulele like sounding guitar playing. There is some interwoven violin holding up the classical and buttercup insatiable sound that is this music. It reminds me of something that you would hear in a Wes Anderson flick - and I get the same imagery as I do from such movies - creamy pinks and blues and very pop art. The lyrics bring light to another facet of a relationship. "You don't realize you’re lonely until you are free." I believe this is regarding to the moment when you split ways with someone thinking that you just want to be solo - then loneliness creeps in and becomes reality. Although the content is a bit more emotionally distraught than the first track, it continues to uphold the sweet, soft buttery sound.
Cruising through to “Better Days,” this song is hypnotic with its angelic voices and simple guitar strumming. This song also seems to be slightly tropical or beachside inspired. Lace’s voice somehow brings a freshness that can only be compared to being near the sea. There seems to be a gentle hint of steel drums in this song further bringing that beach-y love song sound. Lace's soul is so transparent through her voice that it really puts the listener in her shoes.
“Pearls to Breakfast” utilizes a filter that makes her voice sound more old school ‘50s. It makes me feel like I am at one of my parents’ school dances - really throws me into a time machine. Love songs are timeless - always about heartbreak or being super fluttery head over heels. This track definitely feels more like an oldie though. Moving on in the album to “Drifting through the Open Seams.” "Can't you see your daydreams, drifting through the open seams." Poetic prose matched with a harmonic chiming sound. "I know you're not the type to settle down/that you would only drown." This song touches on the inevitable heartbreak we all face when we are ready to commit and the other cannot because they must be free. You can imagine her standing at the front door watching him take off. It brings up a welling of emotional familiarity and inner strength to be able to say just go and I will stay.
The album ends on the song “Autumn Leaves.” I would like to believe this song is about the fall and a new beginning coming up. Let all of the old emotions fall down to the ground and the earth goes into winter hibernation before rebirthing again. "I miss you most of all my darling when winter leaves start to fall." That time when things are changing and you know you are going to want to cuddle and there is no love, it can make it even more difficult. She even speaks a bit of French in the end of the song which confirms my inkling that she sounds like she would fit well on a Wes Anderson soundtrack because he often has French singer/songwriters make debuts there. It is a gorgeous track that ties up the album by admitting she is generally missing her darling.
Old Flames takes us on a journey through all of the different emotional levels of love. Sometimes you are in love with someone and they aren't with you. Sometimes you are ready for a commitment and they aren't and vice versa. You need space and they cannot get enough of you. This album fully portrays all of the facets of the tug-o-war, push and pull game that is love. I always say that when it comes to love I am like a broken Nintendo because I don't play games. But perhaps we all play games and fall prey to the incessant need and desire of love’s powerful force. I appreciate the gentle and angelic voice of Lace and her ability to sing forwardly about these emotions and for us to vicariously feel all that she is feeling. This album is very human and leaves deep grooves in my soul. Highly recommend it - it can put wings on your breakup if you are going through one.
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