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Common Holly - When I Say To You Black Lightning (Album Review)

Friday, 25 October 2019 Written by Milly McMahon

Photo: Alex Apostolidis

Common Holly's music pours over the listener, beguiling and heady. Montreal singer-songwriter Brigitte Naggar's sophomore album ‘When I Say To You Black Lightning’ is a beautiful blend of deep emotions and varied instrumentals.

Arranging a nostalgic blend of vocals and guitar, a provocative atmosphere rises and rises as the nine track LP progresses. Speaking on a broken relationship, self-doubt and obsession, Naggar’s music descends upon the listener like a spell.

UUU (pronounced you with two yous) is an ode to deception and egotism. Naggar converses poetically and sings with dulcet simplicity, her lyrics describing fractured memories and feelings. It is both inspiring and relatable.

Measured, meanwhile, is a folk-like lullaby: soft, catchy and thought-provoking. The laid back tempos allow space for thought, and are both relaxing and melancholic. 

Upon each listen the album evolves. On Joshua Shakes acidic guitar riffs clash with soft hummings, like a tortured mind trying to resolve troubled thoughts. Background police sirens on You Dance take us to a place of intrigue and tension, contrasted to the sweet and vulnerable aesthetic Naggar exudes. 

Naggar’s music is her own, and the spirit and soul she has invested here feels transparent. A relationship is therefore forged with the music, which appears to be increasingly personal as meaning and melodies are dissected through listening. Juxtapositions and moments of experimentation are married to create a brilliant album that deserves to be listed among the best releases of 2019.

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