Album Review: Julien Baker, Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker
Turn Out The Lights

Turn Out The Lights, the highly-anticipated follow up to her debut, Sprained Ankle, finds Memphis, Tennessee’s Julien Baker delivering a heartstring shattering, infinitely confessional, and lush record that is sure to surpass even the highest expectation of fans of her earlier material.

Self-reflection is where Baker predominantly resides lyrically, tackling in careful language the experience with struggling, coping, adapting, all the while revealing some lasting and complex truths about the human experience. Baker has established a foothold amidst some of the greater songwriters of the past, Jason Molina, Kristen Hersch, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith. Additionally, she’s taking more liberties with her production and orchestration, with the increased presence of vocal and guitar layers, and piano.

Mixed by Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Florence & the Machine), Turn Out The Lights is an album that reaches dizzying heights and colossal crescendos even amidst the moodiest subject matter.

Notwithstanding, this is not easily digestible by any stretch; tugging and tearing at old hear scars is where Baker excels. So if there’s an expectation that you can walk away from this record unchanged and unmoved, it’s probably best left alone. (Matador)