Boston musician yllwblly’s debut album Land Lover, out February 7, is at once grand and sparse, building a rich musical and lyrical landscape of acoustic guitars, smooth vocals and solid drums. Written during early mornings before the 23-year old’s day job, the record details the specific heartbreak of losing a foundational relationship, yet yllwblly’s four-year distance from the 2015 breakup provides a distinct maturity to his heartache.
Yllwblly touches on a variety of genres throughout Land Lover‘s 13-track, 41-minute runtime; the music jumps from dreamy folk ballads (“Your Heart Darkens”) to warping psychedelic tracks (“Trigger”) and driving pop tracks (“I Hope You’ll Get Yours In The End”). Still, yllwblly’s smooth, low vocals – whether clear or muted – tie the tracks together, and nothing about the album feels disjointed or out of place.
And even within broad genre parameters like “folk” and “pop,” each of yllwblly’s songs has a distinct musical touch. “The Youngest Child” feels sparse and dark, winding its way through intricate music and building itself throughout, but “Santa Maria” comes next and has a special brassy grandeur complete with trumpets and yllwblly repeating, “I want you in my life.” “Show Romance” feels like a ballad, yet its spindly, fast-paced guitar picking adds a waltzing feel to the track, and “Bedroom Hex” is short and dreamy.
But Land Lover‘s lyrics are the final touch on an already rich album. He croons about love and loss throughout: “American Youth” features sharply percussive guitar and drums as yllwblly sings about an aching kind of love (“You wanted me then/Dead or alive/Tear out my heart/Hair and my eyes”), while “Who Am I To Tell You” feels lighter yet no less melancholy (“I was fumbling around/Trying to grasp the shape we’re in/What you left lying around/Shards still scraping at my skin”).
In all, Land Lover makes for a remarkable debut; though yllwblly is a new project, this release feels wonderfully dreamy, intricate and mature as he moves between floating folk, driving pop and winding psychedelic music.
Land Lover is truly a stunning debut. Yllwblly dips into a variety of sounds and genres to create a wonderfully blended folk album that drifts between warm ballads and warping psychedelic tracks, and the resulting record is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Listen to Land Lover now on all streaming platforms, and check out the album on Spotify below.