Now onto her fourth album, New York native Laura Stevenson has time and time again showed a punk-rock spirit in her songs alongside a spiky sense of humour and sharp tongue. Calling her latest record ‘Cocksure’ might have been slightly tongue-in-cheek, but when listening to it you realise how confident she should be with its release.
‘Out with a Whimper’ opens in similar style to the songs on the latest Laura Marling album when the guitars were turned up. With its big sound, there’s a nod to Hop Along as well and there’s a spiky sense of humour as Laura looks towards (perhaps with some trepidation) to a brand new year: ‘We’ll drink and we’ll piss’. ‘Torch Song’ follows and has a Tom Petty-esque riff to open as Laura offers some sterling advice: ‘Lick your fingers clean and remember me’. As the melodies come in, the upbeat nature is offset by the slightly darker lyrics: ‘You don’t like to be touched. I don’t like it that much’.
‘I’m fucking hideous and spiteful when I’m left to my own devices’ is a hell of an opening line for ‘Jellyfish’ and this is soon joined by guitars that sound somewhat like Best Coast jamming with Rilo Kiley. Full of melodic melancholia, sadness seeps through the self-depreciating lyrics: ‘I’m lazy and a loser’; ‘I’m wasting away my life’. Clocking in at under 2 ½ minutes, ‘Emily in Half’ is jangly but grunge-tinged – much like The Lemonheads; while there is a more Gaslight Anthem-style rock sound in ‘Happier, etc’. Very frantic , it’s an anti-love song: ‘At my best when you’re not around, I’m happiest when you’re not around’. There’s a definite 90s vibe on ‘Claustrophobe’, which also contains some more attention-grabbing lyrics: ‘I’ve got a lump between my legs, I got an ugly place to be’. Following this is ‘Life is Long’, an upbeat song with a shoegazey feel and the recurring line of ‘I don’t wanna be sick no more’. It’s a celebration of life and looking to the future that also has a big ending.
The final song on the album is ‘Tom Sawyer Know Where You Can Find Me’, which opens in understated fashion as Laura asks the questions: ‘Did you get my messages? Are you paying your bills still?’ before the full band comes in she asks ‘Can you make do?’ over and over the relentless melodies. A fine addition to Laura Stevenson’s run of records, we’re quite sure you’ll love ‘Cocksure’.