The short version: Lucie Silvas’ ‘E.G.O.’ is a daring effort with many highlights. It’s only issue is that it’s a tad inconsistent. Otherwise, this is a really interesting listen.
The long version: It’s rare that you see artists come “full circle,” so to speak. Lucie Silvas may have started in pop over a decade ago in Europe, but ever since then, she’s slowly made her way to Nashville without it feeling like a grab at relevancy. It was that move that inspired 2015’s Letters To Ghosts, and now, Silvas blends all of her influences into one on E.G.O.
E.G.O. is a little bit of everything from country to pop, soul, blues and rock. This leads to brilliant moments at times and a few more scattershot moments in others. It’s an intriguing album to listen to overall.
The production is a huge asset of this album. Whatever the mood calls for, the instrumental mix is there to match it. Whether it be the fiercer guitar work or heavier drums on the opener, “Kite” or the lush, brighter string section of “Girls From California” or “Everything Looks Beautiful,” the attention to detail and color in the mix leads to truly excellent sounding moments.
And of course, that’s before you match that with Silvas’ smokier voice with a bit of a polished edge to it. Sheryl Crow is the most obvious comparison in this department. Something like “People Can Change” truly captures her at her best, with a vulnerable performance backed by violins and a sense of urgency. It’s a pretty powerful moment on the album.
Of course, E.G.O mostly works the opposite way, with Silvas often delivering performances with more fiery attitude to them. “Kite” sees her mischievously warning a man to hang onto his fleeting lover, and the closer, “Change My Mind” sees her content to swear off love even though she’s willing to accept it if the right person comes around.
This element however can be stretched a bit far however, as “Smoking Your Weed” feels a little too on the nose in its execution, and the turn around of the hook compared to the theme itself just feels a bit jarring and out of place.
Really, the lyricism is probably the weaker point of this album. Certain moments like “I Want You All To Myself” and “Everything Looks Beautiful” sound nice, especially the latter track with the old school lounge vibe, but aside from stellar vocal moments, there isn’t much to latch onto other than that. Meanwhile, “My Old Habits” feels like it plays things a bit low-key considering the subject matter, and “First Rate Heartache” feels like the one moment on the album where Silvas is fighting to be heard in the mix. The title track (which stands for “everybody gets off”) also feels like it’s aiming a bunch of arrows without a target and doesn’t quite have the nuance to make it work.
Thematically, E.G.O. is mostly a relationship album that deals mostly with the end or aftermath of a relationship without ever really finding love. It’s what makes “Change My Mind” such a potent closer, because it ends on the note that while she’s got her guard up, she’s also willing to try again with the right person, ending on a positive note.
Elsewhere, the highs are pretty high on this album. “Kite” is a brutally good opener and “Girls From California” has a smokier, rich lushness to it. “Black Jeans” combines a pronounced bass line with softer acoustics and dreamier production to create a moodier, atmospheric sounding tune where the urgency is there vocally and lyrically. It’s also fitting I just covered Ruston Kelly’s Dying Star, as the song, “For The Record” appears here too. While both versions are good, Silvas’ is packed with more natural emotion, and that turn around of the hook is always stunningly heartbreaking to hear.
Overall, E.G.O is an incredibly interesting from Silvas that, while a tad inconsistent, also sticks the landing in terms of the production and vocal performances, leading to some stellar highlights. If anything, it’s certainly one of the most versatile albums of the year.
- Favorite tracks: “Kite,” “People Can Change,” “Just For The Record,” “Girls From California,” “Black Jeans”
- Least favorite track: “Smoking Your Weed”