Album review: Ada Lea

Ada Lea - What We Say in Private (Saddle Creek)

Ada Lea.

Ada Lea.

THE BREAK-UP album - Blood On The Tracks, The Bride Stripped Bare, Rumours, Songs For Only The Lonely, Blue, Currents... - rarely do catharsis and creativity go so well and productively together.

The latest entry in this long line is What We Say In Private, the debut album from Montreal indie-rock singer-songwriter Ada Lea (real name Alexandra Levy ). After the collapse of a long relationship, Levy threw herself into writing music, painting, and keeping a journal for 180 days.

The result is 10 tracks of the most left-field, and original, indie-rock released in recent years. Songs morph from one form into another, changing in response to the emotional turmoil propelling each piece. 'Mercury' begins as an electro pulse before turning into a stomping indie-rocker; 'For Real Now (Not Pretend )' begins as gentle, ruminative indie-pop, but by the end is a growling, distorted, Breeders-esque howl; a similar metamorphosis is heard on the delicate, atmospheric, 'The Dancer', which eventually trades ambience for a guitar riff others would have killed to create a whole song around. 'What Makes Me Sad' features a saxophone straight from Bowie's Berlin period.

Lyrically it is as every bit tumultuous. "God watches over us in disbelief" she says on 'Wild Heart' (and what better lyrics sums up our times? ). The astonishing ballad, '180' finds the unsettling line: "Smash your head on the pavement, just to feel near to something", though later Ada find herself "going to a party and falling in love with everyone I meet", suggesting an emergence from the darkness is immanent.


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