When a song opens with “wish I could write songs about anything other than death,” at first listen, some would assume that its author doesn’t have a positive outlook on life. Its understandable when you take into account all of the things Julien Baker has been through; drug addiction, broken love, and losing grip on faith. When Baker went off for college, she was four hours away from home and her band, Forrister. Distance put the band on hold, but Baker kept writing while she had downtime in her dorm. Her gorgeous debut Sprained Ankle (via 6131 Records) is a deluge of forthright introspection and heavy-handed emotions that’ll leave your senses crippled (we don’t suggest you listen to this while driving).
From the finespun harmonics to those engrossing opening lines, the title-track is spellbinding, entangling listeners in Baker’s disarming vocals and soul shuddering lyrics “a marathon running and my ankles are sprained” Resembling a broken harp, the glassy looped harmonics entwines with the flourishing reverb that’ll only bolster the track’s emotional weight.
Baker recently announced a month long tour, making another stop at the Mercury Lounge on 1/21.