Hannah Read understands distance. After growing up in small-town Silsbee, Texas, the folk singer-songwriter attended college four hours away, drifted around (including a stint in Austin), and embarked on long tours with her musical project Lomelda. She relocated to Los Angeles a few years ago. 2017’s Thx wrestled with this expanse of space, full of night drives on highways etched with loneliness. Hannah continues the same threads but turns inward as Read considers the dissonances within herself and how they permeate into her relationships. She seeks reassurance in one of the three title tracks: “Asked you if you knew / Who I was / You said Hannah.” The seeming non-answer comes at the end of a spotty phone conversation, yet even as she questions herself, Read sings her name gently. Deep empathy drives her self-reflections. “Am I shinin’ / I am tryin’ to shine / Hannah do no harm,” she recites at the end of “Hannah Sun.” The song’s eponymous metaphor reverberates throughout, wrapping the record in soft, “light like kisses” warmth. Co-produced with brother and longtime Lomelda collaborator Tommy Read, Hannah’s sonic landscapes alternately sprawl and shush, interspersing quiet twang (“It’s Infinite”), flurries of synth and strings (“Kisses”) and crashing guitar riffs (“Reach”). In “Wonder,” a driving refrain strums with emotional fervor, building up urgency as it repeats: “When you get it, give it all you got, you said.” Sparsely plucked guitar in “It’s Lomelda” highlights Read’s melodic warble as she references a record shelf’s worth of musicians: Sufjan Stevens, Frank Ocean, Yo La Tengo, Solange, Frankie Cosmos. Nurturing connections to the art that sustains her, she finds a way to reconcile her identity.
Review by Annie Lyons