• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Eliza McLamb’s shimmering debut album

ByTaylor Campbell

Feb 4, 2024
Shimmering Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In ‘Salt Circle’, the eponymous track of Eliza McLamb’s last EP, she sings “I don’t know how to handle my anger yet.” Going Through It, McLamb’s first album released on 19 January, is her confrontation of that same fatal flaw. The album goes on to chronicle her coming of age; fraught with bittersweet contradiction.

Moments of conflict in the narrative voice of the record capture the emotional turmoil of the upbringing McLamb depicts. ‘Before’ is a gentle rumination on childhood, the delicate instrumentals underpinned by the threat of “knowing” and the “knock at the door”. In these lines, McLamb foreshadows the disruption which ripples throughout the track list. In ‘Strike’, McLamb illustrates a beautiful contrast between the darkly romantic hook (“I’m giving you a knife to hold at my throat”) and the uplifting string arrangements.
The linchpin of the album is the brutally candid ‘16’. In opposition to the more oblique lyrics of other songs on the record (such as ‘Bird’, or ‘Just Like Mine’), in ‘16’, McLamb says exactly what she means. Without this song, the record is left with a trauma shaped hole in its raw centre. Lyrics like “The hospital wants to let my mother go home/ I said, “I won’t give consent for that over the phone”, give name to the speaker’s fears. The minimal production and crunchy audio quality creates an atmosphere both nostalgic and mundane, conveying the desensitisation of the speaker.

Going Through It is a shimmering debut. Some songs on the record struggle for air amidst such heavyweights, but the clarity of McLamb’s song writing shines through above all. The album itself concludes with a hint of doubt and a question (“Isn’t it enough?”), although I was only left hopeful for McLamb’s future releases.

Hubble Snares Bevy of Shimmering Stars” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC BY 2.0.