Though One True Thing is her solo debut, Tylan is no newcomer, already being a seasoned member of folk pop group Girlyman. By virtue of experience, this solo album is well focused, polished by her velvety voice and the Southern poesy of her lyrics. However, this well-developed focus is quite narrow. Washed in a uniform melancholy, nearly every song finds the narrator simply waiting and wondering. Especially in tracks like “Vigil,” “Earthquakes” and “Already Fine,” the atmosphere is slow and still, threatening to cross the fine line between getting lost in thought and falling asleep.

Its most redeeming factor is the thoughtful lyricism found throughout. In taking up the position of the lonely outsider, she does get to mull over some truly touching material in “Lying In My Grave”: “When the river made the canyon, did it know that it would find/That something beautiful could come with so much violence over time?” And then there’s “Kali,” which is likely the most serious song ever written about a dog. She switches from the perspective of owner to dog, the leader to the led, which sounds funny in principle but appropriate in context. It also makes an appropriate transition to the most self-reflective of the lot, the closer “One More Thing,” which revolves around abstract and somewhat mysterious imagery.

As for musical diversity, most of the album plods around the same folk stylings. The two instances that truly distinguish themselves are “Love Then” and “Wild Awake.” The first spirals along on a softly picked acoustic guitar and finely harmonized vocals, with gritty lyrics depicting a rundown town. The second, while just as mired in memories as the rest, is a welcome parting of the clouds as it opens up to a gospel-inspired choir and organ part. One True Thing never again reaches that level of upbeat. It’s thoroughly digestible, but really seems best suited for those who like to wallow.

In A Word: Dusky

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