Every once in a while you tend to stumble upon things that catch your ear particularly quick. I’m talking in the opening few seconds you already know that not only are you going to like this, but you’re going to downright love it. Whether it’s a genre you’re intimately familiar with or something totally out of your wheelhouse, it just clicks and pulls you right in. I felt this way with “Flourish”, the lead single and intro track to Truly. I picked it up on our review list as soon as I saw it come up because I couldn’t stop thinking about that song. I’m very glad I did, as Truly is a beautiful album all the way through, and offered me a ton of joy in the last several weeks I’ve gotten familiar with it.
Truly is a curious and eclectic album that is hard to describe from any particular genre standpoint. It has touches of jazz, folk, electronica, psychedelia, and stripped down piano moments. There are a lot of instruments and elements used throughout it, but one of my favorite touches is the dynamic use of voice. Caoilfhionn Rose‘s vocals are easily the highlight to Truly, but there are constant additions of harmonizing vocalizations accentuating the singing. They are also used a lot to harmonize with the other instruments as well as providing additional melodies in instrumental spots and in-between vocal lines. Caoilfhionn’s voice is wispy and light in a way that carries the notes in a near-ethereal manner, sometimes feeling like something from the sweetest fever dream you could ever feel. There’s a good bit of reverb to it, lingering for a moment at the end of each line in a beautiful and tender way. “Tubercular Skies” is a stellar example of all this vocal praise coming together to turn what could be a very ordinary song into something out of this world beautiful.
There is a really sweet and charming nature to all of Truly that I think makes the album work more than anything. Every track is as light and wistful as the vocals that light them all up. Regardless of any of the lyrics, this whole album is a moving jaunt that will make you smile and hum along with every glimmering melody. “Fireflies” feels like a song out of a Disney animation, it’s just pure magic and bliss. Guided by plucky guitar chords and an ambling bass line, the chorus is brought to life by a wonderful and powerful vocal performance once more. The melody of it has been stuck in my head for days and I’ve been humming it or singing it to myself incessantly. It’s just so damn good and catchy I couldn’t help but to fall in love with it. Truly is euphoric and dazzling, and at times feels like it could be the soundscape to an enchanted forest. It’s a little bit whimsical and a lotta bit endearing, and constantly delivers over the course of 35 minutes.
“Every Waking Minute” is a track that caught me off guard on my first listen. Caoilfhionn doesn’t tend to write in the box at all with Truly, but this song is a pretty simple, folky jaunt. While it still has a lot of stunning vocal layers and ambient electronics keeping the dreamy atmosphere that is evocative of the whole album, it feels more emotional and intimate in a bit of a stripped down manner compared to the other songs. This calls back to my earlier notion that you can’t really pin down this music with a genre tag. Maybe you could try to with each song individually, but there is a lot of diversity and creativity to this album. For being so eclectic at times, there is a through line that connects all the tracks and doesn’t let it get too far away from a core identity. It’s a good show of the incredible songwriting talent Caoilfhionn possesses.
Another track I just had to highlight is reminiscent of “Tubercular Skies” in that the use of different vocal threads and harmonies elevates it beyond comparison. “Readiness is All” is an exemplary song that blew me away entirely when I first got ahold of Truly. There’s a bit of Florence Welch to the singing style that I’m enamored with. The song progresses as a kind of jazzy indie-pop mashup that hits all the right notes and just soars straight through your ears and into your heart. The second verse has a beautifully haunting melody that Caoilfhionn sings so softly but with such control and power and is paired with such beautiful harmonies and one of my favorite vocalizations I’ve maybe ever heard just after the minute mark. This song overall is probably my favorite on the album. I remember on my first listen I had a thought of ‘This is the one.’ Calling it one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard might not be much of a lie.
If you have made it this far and haven’t realized how much I love Truly, I truly don’t know how I could word it differently for you. Caoilfhionn Rose has created an absolutely beautiful piece of art that borrows from a ton of music styles to create one engaging and endearing album. It’s ephemeral and dreamy, with a seemingly infectious grace and charm that lasts long after the final track ends. It’s the kind of listen that doesn’t just impact your moment, but resonates through the rest of your day as its melodies continue to play out in your head and spill out through your own lips at a moments notice. This is an incredibly nice piece of music that I can’t keep smiling about, and I hope you can find the same joy from it that I have.