what we say in private

what we say in private by Ada Lea album review by Northern Transmissions
what we say in private by Ada Lea

Our Rating

8.0

It’s interesting to see how artists approach different mediums. Sometimes without the “proper” instruction the results of these experiments can be underwhelming or in the case of Alexandra Levy AKA: Ada Lea quite wonderful. The Montreal based painter and artist is about to drop her debut record, what we say in private, this week via Next Door Records and Saddle Creek and it’s definitely one to dig into. The album came about as a way for Lea to document the ending of an important relationship and her, along with producer Tim Gowdy, used some unorthodox methods to craft something that is chaotic, emotional and extremely human.

The record kicks off with “Mercury” building up from some wobbly synth noise and when the drums kick in seems to take on an almost classic 90s alt rock structure but as the song plays out you hear that there is so much more on Lea’s mind than to emulate sounds from the past. At certain points the song stops completely cold, almost as if to allow the listener to take pause and sink into the details on display before jumping right back into the proceedings. With “The Party” Lea’s delicate vocal melodies float on top of some melancholy arpeggiated guitar, building slightly with some gentle piano that highlights the emotion. It’s with this fragility, along with some found sound recordings, that allow you to truly slip into the song. “For Real Now Not Pretend” swerves from straight ahead pop into a loopy, tumultuous spoken word section that feels a little intimate listening to. It’s as if you hear the voice in her head trying to sort through these feelings. Album centrepiece “The Dancer” is a wonderful journey. The track highlights just how much in command Lea is here. As the songs ebbs and flows, you truly get a sense that Lea knows exactly how she wants to guide you through this all.

what we say in private, is a truly affecting experience. It feels like Lea had a ton of things she wanted to express and she seemingly tried to express them all. What the outcome is may be a little messy, a bit raw and extremely intimate but because of this, it’s all intensely real and very human.

review by Adam Fink

what we say in private by Ada Lea comes out on July 19th via Saddle Creek/Next Door Records.

Ada Lea
Live

Aug 1 – Toronto, ON – The Drake Hotel
Aug 2 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
Aug 3 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
Aug 4 – Cambridge, MA – Cloud Club
Aug 10 – Montreal, QC – Brasserie Beaubien
Nov 02 – Camden Town, London, UK – Mirrors 2019