Most people who haven’t slept for five days would see a doctor. Instead, former Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis began writing songs for her first solo album in six years. Plagued by insomnia following the break-up of her band and death of her estranged father, the 38 year-old American crafted the bulk of The Voyager from a very dark place. While it shows on introspective laments ‘Slippery Slopes’ and the title track, there’s just as much defiance to counter the gloom, and it’s the combination of the two that makes this ten-track effort better than the average alt-country release. Lyrics flit between breezy and burdensome on highlights including the bar room stomp of ‘You Can’t Outrun Em’ and JJ Cale-esque riff on ‘She’s Not Me’, while throughout the brutally honest tale of fading youth on ‘Love U Forever’, Lewis lays herself barer than before. Top-drawer production from Ryan Adams rounds off what is both the sound of an artist looking for closure and calm, and a welcome and overdue return to making solo albums.
For The Big Issue