It’s easy to get lost in the past with Lauren Balthrop’s “Don’t Ever Forget,” a wistful gem off her forthcoming solo album This Time Around. She wraps her lyrical nostalgia trip in layers of pop-friendly twang and piercing guitar fuzz, topped off with the syrupy sweet vocals that’ve long marked her musical projects. Despite its retro vibes, the song is forward-thinking enough to impress her musically progressive neighbors in Nashville.
Balthrop’s love song to the past accompanies old footage that offers a fantastical view of simpler times. Some of the public domain clips of gorgeous starlets and young lovers come from the eclectic and often surreal Prelinger Archives of classic commercials, amateur footage and instructional films.
This blending of classy pop, classic images and the ominously trippy feel of that comes with fuzzed-out electric guitar riffs resembles the brainy yet bawdry works of Lou Reed–namely “Perfect Day”–instead of her peers’ typical country, folk or Americana influences.
Balthrop’s debut album as a solo artist follows a long career that’s taken her from an Alabama upbringing to Brooklyn and, most recently, to Music City. She developed her performing chops over the years with girl-group doo-wop trio the Bandana Splits and prior solo persona Dear Georgiana. Along the way, she’s also served as a backing vocalist for Bob Weir, Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker, Elizabeth & the Catapult and others.
The album features a wide array of guest stars. The backing vocalists alone make for a multi-genre who’s who list, with Elizabeth Ziman (Elizabeth & the Catapult), Annie Nero (A. Nero), Lucas Madrazo (Inland Traveler), Maia Friedman (Dirty Projectors) and Tom Krueger serving as Balthrop’s ethereal choir.
This Time Around was produced by Josh Kaufman (Weir, The National, Craig Finn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Clare Bowen, Trixie Whitley, Amy Helm). It arrives Sept. 21 via Tone Tree Music.
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