Laura Jean : Devotion

Laura Jean’s fifth full-length album Devotion steps away from her striking folk stylings to a sound reminiscent of ‘80s synth-pop, evoking a childhood of Casio keyboards, Video Hits and awakening desire.

She tried out the songs a year ago at the Post Office Hotel, playing keyboard and singing to masterfully produced backing tracks, and the audience were mesmerised.

In this tribute to her teenage years, Jean lifts the ordinary to the extraordinary. Her lyrics are understated and at times breathtakingly intimate. She’s an incredible storyteller who says so much with so little. The sad-but-hopeful track ‘Girls on the TV’ – one of the album’s highlights – tells the story of two sisters, one “born to sing” the other “born to dance,” spanning years from childhood bullying (“The girls in the class used to say she was too chubby”) to later experiences with cocaine.

There’s an ethereal sound to this album created through John Lee’s magical production; reverb-drenched layers of synth, spacious electronic drums and subtle vocal harmonies floating over the main vocal line. Sometimes the sound lacks crispness, and there’s a risk of auditory fatigue when listening to it in one go, but Devotion is a brilliant album worthy of widespread recognition.