M for Empathy

BY Laura StanleyPublished Mar 11, 2019

The music that Hannah Read makes as Lomelda is for quiet spaces. The soft, propulsive folk-rock of her LP Thx, a standout release from 2017, fit neatly in between the lines of long, empty stretches of roadway. Unlike its predecessor, M for Empathy sits in confined spaces. These lo-fi songs are brief, often running for only a minute or so, introspective flashes of feelings and snapshots of encounters.
Read is now based in L.A., but she recorded M for Empathy over the course of a weekend while visiting her hometown of Silsbee, TX. Sometimes a song passes before you can grab hold of it, but others have enough power to make your knees buckle. The bubbly piano melody on "Bust" explores the unsaid words that Read aches to remember: "I thought of so many things to say to you but what were they what were they what were they…" The standout song, "Slide," is a downward tumble with a soft landing, as Read sings of suicidal thoughts and a life-saving phone call from a friend.
Read's gentle deliverance on M for Empathy conjures a melancholic state similar to that of a Sunday night: there is a sadness that's riddled with regret and anxiety. But despite this, Read injects her songs with a subtle wryness that's delightful. "Tell" has a playfully elongated count-in before Read starts to sing, and on the alliterative "M for Mush," Read tries to sculpt her mushy self like a child would a sandcastle.
M for Empathy is a short and sweet release — it clocks in at about 16 minutes total — that provides a much needed moment of quiet.
(Double Double Whammy)

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