Valerie June has just released her first album since 2013. The Order of Time, her fourth album, showcases her folk roots whilst being alternative and fresh. The 12 songs include orchestral strings as well as soul and country influences. She has been making music for over 10 years and has worked with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach who co-wrote and produced her previous album, Pushin’ Against a Stone.
Despite the range of beautiful instruments, the album is still driven by her powerful, Americana vocals. They are shown off in particular in ‘Love You Once Made’. This song is stripped back, slow and begins with her singing acapella before the bluesy instruments fade in. This creates a relaxing and powerful effect.
‘With You’ is one the most unique. It includes beautiful strings and an echoed voice effect which evokes a dream sequence and summer vibes. Its wistfulness creates something ethereal instead of the overall bluesy feel of other songs. It is the shortest on the album yet this fits with its lightness. It seems to throwback to her previous album when contrasted with the slower pace of this album.
‘Shakedown’, one of the released singles, is one of the more upbeat of the album. The tone of this song is completely contrasted to ‘The Front Door’ which is more haunting. Her vocals bring an element of country to each song making them soulful whether the instruments are upbeat, slow or dreamy.
My overall favourite song from The Order of Time is ‘Just in Time’. From the opening chords it is the perfect combination of country and something more alternative. The contrast of high and deeper strings make the tone both sad and blissful. The drums almost act as a heartbeat which drives the song forwards and creates something incredibly moving.
This album shows off June’s musical range and quality. Even if blues or country music isn’t normally your thing, her freshness makes it incredibly compelling and enjoyable to listen to.