Lauren Crosby has been garnering a lot of well-deserved attention left of the dial in the last five years, and in her latest collection of studio tracks, titled I Said Take Me to the Water, she proves to be the skilled storyteller and songstress that many of us have been searching for in the latter half of the 2010s. Steeped in organic tonality and unfiltered emotion, I Said Take Me to the Water slides into focus on the back of a dark swing ballad “Skylights” and glides through a trio of emotive experiments in Americana ala “You Don’t Need a Rose,” “Tak City” and “Something Strange” that will pose countless poetic questions whilst evoking a bevy of vivid lyrical imagery, and that’s all before we even reach the halfway mark in the tracklist.
Crosby takes a freeform approach to prose in her most recent offering, and in songs like “Madison, Maine,” “I Work, I Work, I Work” and the poppy “Is That OK,” we’re given access to the most relentless vocal harmonies of her career to date. She’s in love with the strings that dot the sonic landscape of this record, and they show her a lot of affection back in “Dead River Road,” “That Picture” and “You Don’t Need a Rose.” You can tell that she’s been cultivating this relationship with her craft for a lot of years, as her dedication is bringing a beautiful aesthetic to life before our very ears in I Said Take Me to the Water.
Instrumentally, “Sunshine in My Soul,” “Why Are You So Blue?,” and “Tak City” affected me the most of anything on this LP, and not solely on the strength of their compositional intricacies. The master mix layers all of the components in these songs – from the basslines to the guitars and even the occasional glimmer of a fleeting piano’s cry – in such a seamless fashion that we’re always able to discern where one instrumental melody ends and another begins. It’s terrific work from behind the soundboard, and ironically, it deserves just as much credit for the chill factor in I Said Take Me to the Water as the actual material from Lauren Crosby does. Her self-titled rookie release had all the right ingredients to be a classic, and had it boasted this polished production quality, it might have become as big a smash as I think this record ultimately will be.
If this is the standard that Lauren Crosby is setting for herself moving forward, then I cannot wait to hear more of her work as the years go by. She’s a force of nature in I Said Take Me to the Water; her vocal is angelic, and the music supporting her is supremely stylized and multifaceted from top to bottom. It’s a bit more indulgent than what we’ve heard from her in the past, but let it be known that, as far as I’m concerned, Crosby is finally sounding like the unparalleled pro that she always has been in this LP, and she’s setting the bar awfully high for her peers both in and outside of the alternative folk genre.