reviewed by Michael Thomas
Lisa Conway never seems content to do the same thing for too long. She’s had a countless number of projects to her name in addition to her time with Del Bel, and no two records under the L CON project have been quite the same. There were Ballads, a trip to space, and now we have a record that is simply devoted to honest feelings.
As Conway explained in a press release for the album, she didn’t know if she had more songs in her. Insecurities in Being could represent the struggles of bringing your feelings to music, just as it’s about the struggle to move on in your life. There are many lyrics that at first seem cryptic and then pointed; the musical arrangements can be skeletal to better allow the songs to pack an emotional punch.
Musically, Conway has a number of excellent collaborators at her side, from Andrew Collins of the Skeletones Four to the incomparable Karen Ng, who contributes some delectable saxophone and clarinet. There’s also an incredible guest vocal from Casey MQ, who sings on “The Art of Staying Tough.” The album is full of vulnerability, and Casey MQ really makes every single word count as he sings lines like “Even when your insides are crumbling, and your outside’s all alone.”
Conway allows a gloom to settle over most of the album. The guitars are quite moody in “There is a Glow,” and the moaning of clarinet on “Some Sort of Sign” makes Conway’s opening repetition of “You’re the same” feel like it stings. The song at one point features only drums, clarinet and vocals and the absence of sound makes it all the more arresting.
The slightly less gloomy songs are no less pointed. On opener “Try,” it’s hard not to think there’s a real-world story behind the lyrics “The community thinks you haven’t done anything/You’re just wasting everyone’s time.” The previously covered “You Were Right,” with its synth-tastic music, is probably not Conway seriously thinking the subject of the song is right about everything all the time.
We always feel the weight of anxiety and confusion hanging over us; Conway channels this in a way that only Conway can.
Top Tracks: “Light Come”; “The Art of Staying Tough”; “You Were Right”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)