Lissie, ‘Back to Forever’ (Fat Possum)
Love isn’t a many splendored thing on Lissie’s sophomore album, “Back to Forever.” On some songs, she’s reeling. On others, she healing. “Does anyone love anyone anymore?” she sings on “Further Away (Romance Police),” an arresting tune about failed romance that’s hard to get out of your head.
The Illinois native (born Elisabeth Corrin Maurus), who played Bumbershoot this year, writes infectious, country-tinged folk-rock songs filled with emotional urgency. Despite her pain and openhearted melancholy, she conveys a feisty but cautious self-confidence.
Her impressive, 12-song second album features three especially strong tunes, “Further Away (Romance Police),” “Shameless” and “I Don’t Wanna Go to Work,” an anthem for the underappreciated. The album opens with “The Habit,” about cycles of addiction in romance (and substance abuse).
Throughout the Julian Emery-produced album, Lissie’s honey-lime voice soars above a powerful mix of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums.
One of the more topical songs is “Mountaintop Removal,” about environmental degradation, broken dreams and economic hardship, using the ruins of a factory as a symbol of decline. There’s a sense of remorse and outrage that recalls The Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone.”
The album closes with the wistful, nostalgic title song: “If I had my way / We would stay golden / Frozen in frame / Never get older.” It’s the final gem in a string of pearls.
Other new releases
Miley Cyrus , “Bangerz” (RCA)
Tony Bennett, “Live at the Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964” (Sony Legacy)
Sleigh Bells, “Bitter Rivals” (Mom & Pop)