(Photo Credit: Fairlight Hubbard)
We had the opportunity to get early access to Lucette's new album Deluxe Hotel Room for an Advance Review! Deluxe Hotel Room drops on May 17! You'll find my track by track review below! We also had the opportunity to interview Lucette for an Artist Spotlight feature, which you can find below our Advance Review!
Advance Review - Lucette: Deluxe Hotel Room
"Deluxe Hotel Room" kicks off beautifully with breathtaking piano work and Lucette's vocals. Her vocal styling her is reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, it's downright gripping. The song conveys a sense of longing for somewhere else, or something else and does so effectively both through the lyrics and the melody. On "Out of the Rain" we have a melody that is more alt-country than the previous track, especially with the use of organs which complement the percussion. There is something that feels classic about this track. I imagine it playing at the end of the night when the bar is closing up and the staff is tidying up. The inclusion of the saxophone is unexpected and damn appreciated, it's gorgeous. No fuss or frills here, just solid vocals here and classic vibes.
"Full Moon Town" starts with an edgier beat to it. It certainly doesn't have the more classic vibes felt on the previous track. It sits firmly in the alt camp and that's great. It's a slow burner, the chorus teases a breakout. That breakout is never released, as it keeps an even pace throughout, perhaps a missed opportunity for a big hook. With "Angel", Lucette heads way back to pop sounds of the 60's and 70's, especially through her use of harmonies. The percussion in this one is great, as it. However, the star of the show here is the ripping saxophone solo that comes at almost the 2:00 minute mark.
"Fly to Heaven" again has classic vibes and utilizes saxophone. It has a lounge jazz feel to it. Vocally, Lucette puts on a show here, utilizing multiple areas of her register. "California" is another classic feeling track, it reminds me of Jenny Lewis. For a 2:00 minute track, it's impactful. It's vocally stunning and stylistically exquisite. Lucette has the ability to twist classic tropes in modern ways in a fashion I haven't seen since Brandon Flowers of The Killers on Sam's Town.
"Crazy Bird" has a backing melody that is reminiscent of synth wave music. Meanwhile, the vocals are very much alt-country. There's a juxtaposition that I'm not sure about until Lucette hits the high notes. There it blends perfectly. Outside of this, the music seems too brooding for the vocals that accompany it. In "Talk to Myself" Lucette utilizes keys and percussion masterfully. The ending result is an almost psychedelic experience, (particularly with the high notes on the keys). She builds an atmosphere through the melody on this one that surrounds you while you listen. Finally, in "Lover Don't Give Up On Me" Lucette returns with the beautiful piano work, (almost as a bookend to the album). Musically, Lucette's keys here remind me of Elton John, particularly in her transitions. The EJ song that especially sticks out to me musically is "Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters". In some ways the song reminds of Bette Midler's classic "The Rose" (and that's not a bad thing). It's a beautiful way to end the album.
Closing Thoughts: Lots to love here. Strong vocals and strong music throughout the song. There was only one instance on the album where I scratched my head ("Crazy Bird"). The rest of it, Lucette had me hook, line, and sinker. Her reinvention of classical tropes is fresh and stunning. She shows she versatile and can do more alt centered music, or stray to more alt-country territory, or even go with a classic pop sound. This is an album that you really need to check out, it has a little bit of everything, especially if you appreciate a good sax solo like I do.
Rating - 4/5
Artist Spotlight - Lucette
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I started to sing (in public) when I was 11 years old, but really started to consider it as a career in my teens, playing in local coffee shops, and around Edmonton. So I guess you could say I started to truly pursue it when I was around 17. I've always loved music and felt an undeniable connection to it."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"It really does vary. Quite often I'll be in public and hear a phrase or a tune that inspires me, then I'll sneak away and jot something down in my notebook or hover over my phone like Golem in the bathroom to try and record a voice memo without anyone noticing. I find that I have to create the time and space to write, I try to schedule time in so I can revisit all of those notes. Other times, I just sit down at my piano and it pours out no problem. I really don't have a method! I also love writing with friends."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"A ton. In relation to this project however, I was listening to a lot of pop, rock, and soul from the 70s-90s. I love the sax solos in a lot of the 80's pop tunes, they add so much depth. As far as particular artists I'm really inspired by, Elton John, Emmylou Harris, BORNS, Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, T-Rex, Bobbie Gentry, Blaze Foley, and The Rolling Stones come to mind first."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"I'm a keyboard player, so naturally any upright or grand piano comes to mind, since it's so rare to get to play them live. I have the Heintzman piano that my mom grew up on at my house, and I love it like a sibling. I also love playing around with synths, Wurlitzer and Rhodes keyboards. We played around with them a lot on the record."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"I'd like to say my live show is soulful, intimate, but yet exciting to the ear. I really just try to get in my own space, then let the audience in on it. I feel as though it's the best way to get the story of the songs across.
What I most enjoy about a venue? Good sound, and good food options, whether it be there, or a suggestion near by. You get used to eating a lot of road food, and it feels like your stomach thanks you ten-fold when you actually feed it something with substance, haha."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"I want people to know that this album truly represents me, and I want them to feel as though they've gotten to know me better after listening. This album is a lot more autobiographical than the first, and I think people will feel that. I don't know about other people, but I'm assuming they feel something in their guts when they listen to something that resonates with them, and I hope to achieve that with my music. Sturgill and I really tried to make a sound that is fresh but still genuine, so maybe that's what I want people to feel when they hear it, a groove and a feeling."
7. Tell me about the writing and recording process for Deluxe Hotel Room.
"I wrote these songs while touring Black Is the Color, over a 4 year span. A lot of these songs are about my struggle with mental health, loneliness, and pursuing the often trying career of an artist. I had just gotten out of a controlling relationship before the release of my first record and basically hit the road a few weeks after. I felt free for the first time, but also confused by the loneliness and isolation I felt by my newfound independence. The writing came from these feelings of being somewhat lost, but carrying on anyways. This album came to life from using songwriting as a cathartic method to get through a lot my issues. As soon as Sturgill and I decided to work together, we spent a lot of time just sending music back and forth to each other that inspired the record. I think that put us both in the head space we needed to be in to make the record. When I got to Nashville to record, I basically played the musicians all of the songs, and then we did the thing in 4 days! We wanted the focus to be on my voice, and those little moments that hit you hard, like the sax solos."