With an eye on the contemporary but an affinity for the traditional, Melbourne folk artist Lucy Roleff returns with Left Open in a Room - a chamber-folk inflected expansion on the fingerpicked purity of her 2016 debut, This Paradise.
Autobiographical in essence but vast in theming, Left Open in a Room reminds of both the simple, vignette songwriting of Sibylle Baier, and the intricate stylings and blunt tongue of Bridget St John and Nick Drake. Lucy's vocals are truly the centrepiece, imbued with a precise, classical enunciation and soft duskiness. The peaks and valleys of her voice allowed to shine, as her rare contralto register shows all shades of its deep colour. We also welcome a new addition since This Paradise, Lucy's 36-string celtic harp, alternating beautifully with her fingerpicked classical guitar.
The collection of songs here find Lucy looking inward, musing on domestic spaces and contemplating relationships past and present. Latent memories of an early, unresolved romance are reflected upon during 'Sometimes Do', details of a faltering household ruminate on 'He Heard Everything', and finally an opportunity to step inside Lucy's own space with titular track, 'Left Open in a Room'.
While the songs were written over a three year period, Left Open in a Room has much of its essence in the fern-shaded grounds of the artists residence Jacky Winter Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges. Here, Lucy composed the majority of the album's arrangements; the divine tranquility of the gardens imbued in the album's verdant instrumentation.
Left Open in a Room was recorded with longtime collaborator and fellow composer Pascal Babare - much of the recording and mixing split between Pascal's home and his recording studio at Electric Dreams in South Melbourne, a process to which Pascal also contributed electric guitar, bass, piano, percussion and Moog guitar. Lucy's musical collaborators Rosalind Hall and Alex Badham also lend their talents to the record on clarinet and guitar, respectively.