Another Life, Roan Yellowthorn’s Sophomore Album, Available Today
Roan Yellowthorn‘s Another Life, their new John Agnello-produced album, is out now
Today, New York indie-pop duo, Roan Yellowthorn, have released their new album, Another Life, which was produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Alvvays). Lead singer Jackie McLean wrote much of the 11-song record as a reflection on a childhood marked by frequent mental and emotional abuse that led to debilitating OCD by age 7 and an eating disorder at 13. Abuse that continued into young adulthood, oftentimes causing her to question her own reality and sense of self-worth. On Another Life, McLean channels her healing process and the rebuilding of her individual identity through laid-back 80s era synths and airy, often bright, dream-pop sounds that both compliment and contrast the seriousness of her lyrics.
Today, Roan Yellowthorn has shared album standout “Acid Trip,” which was spawned by a solo car trip that sent McLean into a philosophical mood about life’s ebbs and flows and the lasting effects of the abuse she has suffered. Of the track, she offers, “I started writing this song with the first line. Putting one thought down in words. And I wove that together with this feeling I’d been having about how intense and overwhelming life can be. How everyday life can feel psychedelic. It turned into an exploration of the macro and the micro experience of being alive — the specific and the broad — and what that can feel like.”
McLean’s lush keyboards and keening, incisive vocals are joined by the intricate drums of her partner Shawn Strack, with additional keys by Andy Burton, gentle guitar flourishes from Emil Amos, Mary Lattimore’s dreamy harp sounds, and haunting basslines from Jesske Hume. Producer Agnello couldn’t be more pleased with how the album sounds. “In a song and arrangement sense, I marvel at how the songs build naturally throughout, how choruses open up and become grander,” he says. “And then when you put Jackie’s beautiful melodies and voice on top, it’s the total package.”
Another Life frequently reflects on emotional turbulence and how personal relationships can impact someone’s path in the world. Writing and recording an album with such harrowing themes was cathartic for McLean — allowing the songwriter to funnel her pain into her art. “Acid Trip” was spawned by a solo car trip that sent McLean into a philosophical mood about life’s ebbs and flows and the lasting effects of the abuse she has suffered; “Vampire” details how helpless she has felt at times when trying to escape her abuser’s control; “Bloodline” details her family’s struggle with mental health, and the tender “Little Love” explores the nuanced emotions surrounding a terminated pregnancy she experienced when she was 20.
“Sharing my experiences was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But the response has been mind-blowing,” explains McLean. “People from far and wide have reached out to me, and I’ve realized that I am not alone in the experiences I’ve had. None of us are. Once we start to talk about what we’ve lived through, it’s clear — the only thing that isolates us is silence.”
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