"Something rather special is happening here."
Something rather special is happening here. With a background as a cellist, African-American songwriter Kelsey Lu calls her music “luxe dream-pop”. Her songs have little in common with the likes of Beach House, Julee Cruise or Cigarettes After Sex, but there’s a transportive dreaminess to them that justifies her view. Truth is, Lu’s music slips away from any attempt at classification.
From the quixotic opener Rebel to the dusky acoustics of Pushin Against The Wind, Lu’s nuanced vocals are vividly backed by sophisticated string and percussion arrangements that are warm and inviting. The delicate but firm touch she’s developed as a cellist has clearly influenced her overall sound. With its grand chorus and panoramic feel, Due West is the obvious single, but Poor Fake surely ought to enjoy similar airtime with its crystalline keys and soaring melody. Lu also demonstrates her willingness to take risks with a commendable stab at 10cc’s I’m Not In Love that avoids sentimentality and cloying wishy-washiness.
Lu’s debut is a masterful work where the wealth of fine details ease into beautiful backdrops and mature, cathartic songs that recognise the pain, horror and beauty of life in order to move through it.