Leaving the glamor of Los Angeles to better radiate. Leave the tumult and the whirlwind of stardom to reach the green pastures and the tranquility of the American countryside. Others have done it before, with more or less success: Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Kanye West, Ryan Adams… Now let’s add to this list the name of Lael Neale, very happy to explain to us, on her third album Star Eaters Delight, the reasons for his return to the family farm in West Virginia.

Far from the city, she has found a way to modulate a sweet yet urban pop music, tinged with a three-chord rock that will appreciate those nostalgic for Nico and the Velvet Underground. Especially since it was all recorded on a good old fashioned cassette recorder!

From the opening, we dance on I Am the River, a happy musical mix knitted in voluntary simplicity. The famous bass-guitar-drums-keyboard quartet is heard, boosted by “la la la la” repeated by a Lael Neale in voice. Great piece that quickly ends up in our “favorite songs 2023” list.

When the artist seeks to increase the tempo, a sound box is added – notably on Faster Than The Medicine –, otherwise it is against a mellotron background that she gently dictates her prose. A prose that reaches a Shakespearean summit on the (too?) long In Verona: in eight minutes, she summarizes the routs of American society, comparing the heartbreaks of recent years to those experienced by the Montagues and the Capulets in the classic of the playwright.

« In Verona, Where we laid, Our perfect death, Let the wine spill down the stone steps, Let us tear each other to bits ».

No, love, reconciliation and forgiveness no longer seem possible today for the songwriter. Sad finding.

Star Eaters Delight is meant to be a second try for Lael Neale since joining Sub Pop. And certainly the company will make the ex-Californian one of its stars for the next few years.