Undressed at the Symphony by Faye Webster album review by Ethan Rebalkin for Northern Transmissions


Undressed at the Symphony

Faye Webster

On her 5th album, Underdressed at the Symphony, Faye Webster delivers an album that is as extravagant and ornate as it is comforting and witty.

Underdresed at the Symphony starts with “Thinking About You.” A swinging yacht-rock tune that meditates on traversing the space between relaxation and vigilance. “I’m asleep in the moment when you’re holding my head / but I want to remember I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” Webster sings. Webster has a way of painting a world that is as universal as it is singular to herself. At what point does comfortability in a relationship turn to taking the one you love for granted? Webster might find herself lost in the moment while she’s being held, but fights to remind herself that the rest she seeks can be found at a later date. Just one of the many sentiments on Underdressed at the Symphony that one may find themselves empathizing with.

“If you’re in a good place, I won’t mess with that / But I’m here when you need, I always have,” Webster admits on the woozy-single “But Not Kiss.” Led by Webster’s signature refrain and Nicholas Rosen’s sweeping piano, “But Not Kiss” is a formidable addition to Webster’s collection of emotionally-severed love songs. The piano lead has an unsettling nature to it that only relents when it’s met with the sweeping pedal-steel, but not before bringing you right back down to earth with the drum shots that follow.

Lil Yachty contributes his trademark ad-libs, tuned-harmonies, and rap-verse as the only guest feature through the lighthearted “Lego Ring.” Yachty and Webster share a chemistry that is undeniable and sounds like their longtime friendship materializing in real time. Webster admits, “I think I hit a point in songwriting during this record where I was like, man, I said a lot. The record feels like a mouthful to me, but I don’t always have to be deep.” “Lego Ring” might be a song about a crystal lego ring that Webster really wants, but maybe it’s a testament to what makes Webster so intriguing and welcoming as an artist? She has a charm, wit, and songwriting approach that will continue to win over fans for years to come. With modern R&B production techniques, and a country-tinged, indie-rock aesthetic, her music pulls an audience from southern hip-hop heads to alt-rock savaunts.

Like many of us, Webster may turn to humor as a means of distraction to interfere with the often mundane nature of everyday life. This tendency continues to shine a welcoming light through the merely 90 second “Feeling Good Today.” The song recounts a day-in-the-life, so to speak. “I got paid yesterday / I’ll probably buy something dumb,” Webster flocks. We’ve all been there. “Find a new hobby just to ditch it,” have also been there.

“Lifetime” feels like a true mission statement for Underdressed at the Symphony. It’s a lush slow-burner that really highlights Webster’s ability to take advantage of time and space. The mantra, “in a lifetime” that Webster gracefully repeats throughout, gives the instrumentation room to swell and wash over the listener. Webster’s masterfully emotive cadence is at full display on this song, and somehow is able to leave you with a mysterious yearning; a beckoning to a lost friendship, or even an unrequited love. Webster’s talent for toiling with her own sheepish uncertainty continues on the title track,
followed by the album closer “Ttttime.” Met with symphonic motifs and layers of Webster’s harmonies, the title track is a highlight, one that bears the weight of its title and lovingly hands you to the album closer “Tttttime,” like a matradee showing you to your table.

Underdressed at the Symphony is a welcome addition to the Faye Webster universe. It’s a documentation of love, heartbreak, irony and earnestness in a laid-back pillow of welcoming indie-rock. One that is sure to please well-acquainted fans, and newcomers alike.

Order Undressed At The Symphony by Faye Webster HERE


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