Kat: By the way, have you noticed how beautifully “When I’m Over You” complements “Dreamcatcher”? And the other way around, how „Dreamcatcher” introduces the following song, making it sound even deeper and more poetic? This special chemistry goes on throughout the entire new record and defines its cohesive sound. The songs interact, and heavily. And, at the same time, Heart To Mouth is diverse and surprising when it comes to the songs’ genres, tempos and poetries, which makes me absolutely love it.
The cover of Heart To Mouth, a new record by LP
Zu: Same here! What’s more is I was surprised to discover this cohesiveness, as prior to the release of Heart To Mouth, LP was describing the album in her interviews as eclectic and being kind of a collection of songs which simply sound good together. And they really do, but it’s just a little too humble of a description, wouldn’t you say? There’s much more to the full body of work that Heart To Mouth is. And therefore I don’t care about these songs being born in different places and different times, as we know they were. It doesn’t matter in the end, because one thing I really love about art is how it takes on a life of its own after it’s been shown to the world. Which is something hard to describe… but there are these two lines Andrzej Sosnowski wrote, which I think tell it all: “The poem leaves home and never gets back / The poem does not remember the home it never had.”
K: Before we first listened to the album, I had been trying to figure out what its sonic landscape was going to be. Based on the three pre-release singles and one song we knew from LP’s live shows, it seemed like it was going to be a diverse selection of songs. But then it also turned out that, to me, some other four, then-yet-unknown songs, are the core and spirit of the album. They brought the joint to the table and yielded this meditation-anthem-catharsis, ab initio, mood of the record. And I guess we are in tune seeing the „One Night In The Sun” – „The Power” – „Hey Nice To Know Ya” – „Special” foursome as the spine of this temperamental album?
Z: We are, indeed, and this is the second thing about Heart To Mouth that surprised me – the final shape is not an extrapolation of the promo singles at all, so to speak. To me, the intensity and the depth lay more in the songs that weren’t the singles, while the record’s ambiance, and maybe, uhm, the meaning of it, dare I say, can be only felt when you listen to it as a whole. True what LP stresses, that the first song, “Dreamcatcher,” sets the mood for the whole album, bringing this vibe of uneasiness. The song is charged with anxiety so strongly it can even be physical for you in a given moment… The songs you pointed out, they keep this atmosphere up, and the other songs in between are, perhaps, bridges between them.
K: Bridges that are very much needed there, indispensable. And so the first song on the record, “Dreamcatcher,” with lyrics embedded into an eerie guitar and piano, make a particular promise and I had a hope that this promise would be kept. I mean, the atmosphere of pursuing secrets and trying to catch all the loose ends and understand the concept. What would be the point of opening with such a refined song otherwise? But that proved to be only a rhetorical suspense. The transition into “When I’m Over You“ highlights the best of the two songs: the focused and unreal ambiance of “Dreamcatcher” and the laid-back, cheeky vocals in the latter song’s verses. Then, the breathtaking “One Night In The Sun” takes over the mystery and extends it from strictly poetic to a very human experience. And “When I’m Over You,” wonderfully put in between as the second song on the tracklist, contrasts with them with this brilliant pre-chorus that I would call “huge” or “epic” if only the songs of the second half of the record hadn’t stolen the description for their huge and anthemic choruses.
Z: Speaking of – “Hey Nice To Know Ya”! “The Power”! Before the album premiere, I thought “Dreamer” was big… And here’s the thing with anthemic songs – in pop music they too often go in a wrong, gimmicky direction, sounding loud and just bad, we’ve heard it on the radio a million times. But not the case on the Heart To Mouth record. Instead, these songs do just this: “where’s your heart – there’s your heart – grab it – there – how does it feel, huh?” At least, that’s what they do to me. There are two songs on the Lost On You album that do just that, too – “Long Way To Go To Die” and “You Want It All.” And I have to say also that all these songs trigger this feeling not only sound-wise. They all have insanely, just insanely, good lyrics.
K: Well, true, in “Hey Nice To Know Ya” the lyrics and lilts interlaced between the lines literally tear my heart apart. What the reviewers said about the howling despair in “Lost On You” back in a day, I would double it all for this song. Every time she delivers these “oh man” or “oh lord,” I swear I have this very real adrenaline rush and I’m holding back tears. I blame the lyrics – of course – but also all these layers of echoing sounds and piled up voices. I love the way it grows: first just the vocals with the ukulele, then an organic and somehow tribal drum joins in to support LP’s anthemic chanting. And then this killer line “saw that dress…” finished with “oh man” arrives and all that happens even before the song reaches its quarter!
Z: This record, in general, should come with an extra pack of plasters and bandages. I’m not sure if I’m joking or not. By the way, for sure it should go with a pair of reading glasses, have you seen the booklet?…
K: I know, such a shame, especially when somebody is really into studying the info the booklet tries to deliver. Thankfully it’s a side thing. The production of the physical record may not be great, but the quality of the sound is simply amazing! Mike Del Rio mastered it excellently, again. I love this careful production of the record, which at the same time is, I don’t know… human? With all these little details that you can only hear when you use your earphones in a perfectly silent place. You noticed it first! Do you have a favorite one?
Z: I have so many, but I really love the quiet last couple seconds in “Special” and “When I’m Over You.” In “Girls Go Wild,” too! Forget you hearing these details when walking the streets, too much noise around, even if you don’t feel like there’s any. With today’s accessibility to music, I have a sense that much of the time we forget how much we lose when we don’t take the time to sit down and really listen to the song in peace, while doing nothing else, just this. When listening to these records by LP that were produced by Mike Del Rio, it should be mandatory. There are so many delightful details to be discovered! But while we’re on the production side of this record, I really need to point out “When I’m Over You.” LP’s vocal color is so outstandingly chilled and spicy here! And she simply killed the phrasing (can’t get enough, I swear). But also, have you noticed the most beautiful backing vocals featuring Mike Del Rio in the intro and the outro? Well, the whole thing, musically and lyrically, is so addictive. I love how this song… sounds. I know it’s a weird way to put it. And my other favorite, production-wise, would be “House On Fire.”
K: What I adore about “House On Fire” are these little hispanic-sounding syllables LP adds at the end of some lines in the verses. They are sublime and finely-calibrated when it comes to the cultural references, the playfulness of the idea and flawlessly matched lyrics. She nailed this kind of nod to another culture in “Tokyo Sunrise” back in the day, too, and that one remains one of the best songs she’s ever written. In “House On Fire,” I can’t stop imagining a beautiful dancer with hobnailed shoes spinning to the sound of LP’s whistling, sending sparks all over the dancefloor. And the whistling here! If LP’s whistling had to be taken out of all her songs but one, it would have to be “House On Fire.” It sounds organic and inseparable from this piece. And I love that you’ve heard a dash of Love’s “Alone Again Or”in it!
Z: Haha, I did, although it’s just a random thought. This song is so many things – the whistling you mentioned is simply spot on! Then the beautiful acoustic guitar, and these cool drums in the chorus. A very ambitious composition, to me. Just like “One Night In The Sun,” with its rich instrumentation and such poetic lyrics. I swear, “did you let me go, did you let me go…” could be an alternative definition of despair or hopelessness. Actually, it could go as a package with the vocal call and guitar response in “The Power,” which I fear one day will literally stop my heart.
K: Ah, “The Power”… I have no idea how to go about saying anything about this song and being able to do it justice. Next to the lyrics in the chorus of “Die For Your Love,” which are probably one of the most unsettling promises of love I’ve ever heard, “The Power” as a whole, is the most intense part of the album for me. Let me refrain from quoting the exact line that says it all, but this is a bird’s eye view on a relationships’ struggles and broken hearts, and LP’s masterpiece. One of the most poignant love songs I have ever heard. Beautiful job done yet again by the unparalleled trio: LP, Nate Campany and Mike Del Rio. The way I feel it, in “The Power” LP touched, and named, the most painful areas of unreturned or betrayed love.
Z: And while the whole record gravitates towards this topic, there’s no doubt that “The Power” is the essence of it, distilled, extracted and encapsulated. What’s more, my respect to the emotional balance that was achieved on Heart To Mouth. Firstly, “Girls Go Wild”…
K: “Girls Go Wild” has been my love since I first heard it recorded during LP’s live show last February!
Z: And I can’t believe we’ve known this song for one year already. I am still so in love with this insane vocal hook, the one that comes for the first time just before the chorus… We’ve already written about it, so let me just put it this way: Joshua Tree seems like a bewitched place for writing songs. But also what adds to the overall balance is how this record ends. So here’s to “Special,” a song that takes off the weight earlier put on romantic relationships and shifts it to another kind of loss and heartbreak. The fact that this is the very last song on this record makes Heart To Mouth even more universal and artistically conscious.
K: Something that the “Forever For Now” song did for the record LP released back in 2014, I feel. Just musically on the other end of the spectrum. The punk-rock beat of “Special” and deliberately down and dirty sound production of the drums in the chorus and the vocals in the verses make one of the most interesting parts of the record. The title speaks for itself – everything about the song is unobvious and unique.
Z: It puts a seal on the album. And when it ends I feel cathartic, for LP, as she does, took me on an emotional trip again, and a very challenging one. “Special” ends it and you know that in this very moment there is nothing else to say. The story now needs you to reflect. I think I need more wine.
K: Wine alone won’t do.