In the year and a bit since Donald Trump took office, there have been many musical attempts to reconcile with the new face of America. Few have been as effective, or as affecting, as ‘Lavender’.
Much more than an anti-Trump album, and dense with skilled synth-work, this is a deeply personal reckoning of one woman’s life in Trump’s America. Through explorations of her Indian heritage and tales of her time touring the country, Nandi Rose Plunkett creates an all-encompassing tale of the two years since her last album.
Opening track ‘Lavender Burning’ sets the mood for the album, searching for calm in a world that seems to have lost any sense of it. Inspired by her grandmother’s rituals, it’s a lament, penned on tour, of missing and home and losing meaning.
While he’s never mentioned by name, Trump’s presence is felt throughout, woven into its fabric by Plunkett’s undeniable skill for soundscapes. On ‘Torches’ and ‘Silt’ she crafts two songs that both depress and inspire, filled with tales of burning landscapes and failing relationships. Meanwhile, on ‘Keep it Out’ she crafts a cinematic pop track that will no doubt wind up on the soundtrack of every high budget political drama if it hasn’t already.
‘Lavender’ is Half Waif on defiant form and using the full breadth of her songwriting talents. Versatile and precisely put together it’s both a funeral song for life before the chaos that seems to plague the world today and an attempt to inspire life within it.