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Mitski - Laurel Hell (Album Review)

Thursday, 10 February 2022 Written by Rebecca Llewellyn

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Arriving at her sixth studio album, ‘Laurel Hell’, Mitski manifests a brooding melancholy that meanders through intoxicating, pulsing electronic sounds. Expanding both her creative and personal boundaries, we witness the songwriter at a potential crossroads in her career, delivering her most experimental and pop-infused work to date.

Having seriously considered leaving music behind for good, Mitski’s triumphant return with ‘Laurel Hell’ is surely as endearing as it is woozily cathartic. Trading in steely, self-deprecating lyrics, she provides just a glimpse into her questioning inner consciousness, her vocals chiming over the ambience of a low-lit dance floor—think shattered disco ball, its pieces flashing among shards of smashed champagne flutes. 

She opens ‘Laurel Hell’ through the eerily soft musings of Valentine, Texas, inviting us to “step carefully into the dark” as the track hums along until around the minute mark, at which point it ricochets off in a new direction.

Grasping the tail feathers of some truly ride-or-die synths, Mitski opens our eyes and ears to the boundless capabilities and curiosities that ‘Laurel Hell’ is founded upon.

There is a noticeable contrast between the fizz of the 1980s synth lines and Mitski’s thought provoking monologues. As ‘Laurel Hell’ rises and falls in tempo, so do the depths of emotion that ripple throughout. The LP is in many ways a kindred spirit of 2018’s ‘Be The Cowboy’ but ‘Laurel Hell’ dances to its own beat, excuse the pun. 

Tracks grind against one another with a sense of juxtaposition, but sway together in their shared sombre undertones as Mitski marries introspective anthems such as Heat Lightning with soaring ballads such as The Only Heartbreaker. The pop-powered passion driving ‘Laurel Hell’ adds layers of dimension to ensure the album never wallows in its whimsical sadness. 

Mitski Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu April 21 2022 - BRISTOL Marble Factory
Fri April 22 2022 - LEEDS Leeds University Refectory
Sat April 23 2022 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Mon April 25 2022 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Tue April 26 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Thu April 28 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse
Fri April 29 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

Compare & Buy Mitski Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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