Lauren Balthrop – Alabama grown, New York tested, and Nashville bound – quiets even the loudest room. Balthrop’s debut album, This Time Around produced by Josh Kaufman (Bob Weir, The National, Craig Finn, Clare Bowen, Trixie Whitley, Amy Helm, Hiss Golden Messenger), is beguiling in its honesty, rich in dark sonic beauty and above all, devilishly playful.
This Time Around chronicles the story of an uprooted soul. Feeling spun out of orbit, tumbling, accidents, and loss of control are recurring themes yet Balthrop finds solace in the chaos of love. There is a sneaky confidence in Balthrop’s vocals – all honey and soaring – almost as if she feels most at ease when her heart is dizzy. Each track on the album oscillates between the moodiness of experimental dark folk instrumentation, and the levity of Balthrop’s crystal-fueled voice.
From the magical realism and twisted fairy tale-nature of “Maple Tree” to the fuzzed out guitar of “Don’t Ever Forget,” and the drunken carousel-esque swooning of “Tumbleweed,” This Time Around is the poster child for rich, subversive pop music. At times Balthrop hits Beatles-like pop hooks and harmonies, and beats that would make Petty nod from the heavens.