Alice Phoebe Lou, a singer-songwriter originally hailing from South Africa, has just released her second full-length album. Titled Paper Castles, it is an effortlessly transformative and perfected record. With one of the tracks titled ‘Nostalgia’, the whole record has a melancholic feel which takes you back through the dancefloors of the last century, whilst simultaneously remaining in the present day. The record highlights Lou’s pure and effortless vocals, with the addition of a simple but complimentary backbeat and atmospheric synths over smooth guitar parts.
‘Galaxies’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Whilst the instrumental sounds take the listener to a different place, the lyrics float like “a speck of dust in the milky way.” Simple, offbeat percussive additions, alongside a moving bass line that sits brilliantly in the mix, offer a graceful yet captivating track.
The most pertinent track on the album is ‘Skin Crawl’. Previously released as a single, it is a narrative song that draws on personal experience, tackling the subject matter of misogyny and sexual assault. Despite its delicate subject matter, Lou manages to maintain the ease of listening which the whole record offers. ‘Skin Crawl’ is an understated gem that could easily be overlooked, but highlights Lou’s extremely commendable songwriting abilities.
Overall, the record feels as though it would be perfect for both laidback listening on a Summer’s day or to warm up a chilly Winter’s eve. Lou has delivered an album that contains poetic lyrics, whilst also managing to tackle complex subject matters, making for relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable listening.