- The warm electronics of the artist are traded for meditative chamber pop.
- Lafawndah, AKA Yasmine Dubois, has always created transportive music. Her debut album, Ancestor Boy, was an astonishing work of bouncy, emotive avant-pop with influences that could be traced back to Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, London, and Paris. While her first LP relishes in its rootlessness, her latest project prides itself in its tight, introspective focus. Dubois wrote Fifth Season while reading Nora K. Jemisin's Broken Earth series, a sci-fi trilogy centering the Stillness, a fictional supercontinent facing catastrophic climate change. To back her piercing vocals, she enlisted a small ensemble comprising Nathaniel and Theon Cross (horns), Nick Weiss (keyboard), and Valentina Magaletti (percussion). The result may be her most filmic release yet, with the warm electronics of her debut full-length traded for what she terms "chamber pop."
The first half of the album is an art in repurposing. "Old Prayer" is taken from Lili Boulanger's early 1900's classical composition, "An Old Buddhist Prayer." Here her penetrative vocals seem to come at you from all angles, bearing the full theatrics of an entire choir. Beverly Glenn-Copeland's whimsical classic "Don't Despair" is given dark-sided instrumentation, Lafawndah's contouring voice sailing through the murk in ominous silhouettes. The most lyrically captivating track on the album, "You, At The End," borrows words from a Kate Tempest poem. When she belts "born to hold the world/under her tongue" it's delivered with such emotion, it's difficult to believe the words aren't her own.
The album is further brought to life through the imitation of natural elements. On "The Stillness" animals chatter, musicians gasp for air and water rushes and trickles. "Le Malentendu," or "The Misunderstanding" in English, tells the story of a friendship between two girls, opening with what sounds like a bubbling stream. Winds surge like passing breeze and birds call in "L'Imposteur." Lafawndah's stripped-down approach invites us to sit in these new environments, culminating in an album that feels as thoroughly absorbing as a good novel.
01. Old Prayer
02. Don't Despair
03. You, At The End
04. The Stillness
06. Le Malentendu feat. Lala &ce