As Boy Scouts, Oakland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Vick makes the kind of music that hits like good advice from a beloved friend. It’s generously warm and inviting, built atop her open, searching voice, but it doesn’t shy away from tough emotional truths. Like Lomelda’s secular hymns and Hop Along’s energetic kiss-offs, Vick’s songs survey the damage that can come from loving other people with curiosity and grace. Her new album, Free Company (ANTI-), is her most vital and incisive work yet, a stunningly tuneful rumination on heartbreak and loss that is always galloping toward the horizon.
Written in the wake of a breakup, Free Company confronts the pain of loss head-on beneath its weightlessly catchy melodies. It may be an album about “good old classic heartbreak,” as Vick puts it, but it relishes the process of healing just as much as it carefully weighs the grief. With sunny vocal harmonies, bright electric guitars, and shuffling up-tempo drums, Free Company doesn’t show its hand right away. It asks you to look past its sheen and take in Vick’s deeply contemplative lyrics, which add dimension to her sun-soaked arrangements.