Photo: Erica Hernandez
My first recollection of Ambar Lucid was a chance discovery on SoundCloud, finding myself equal parts lost in and mesmerized by the overflowing sonic poetry of "A letter to my younger self." It was difficult to believe that this was the project of a then 17-year-old artist. The same sense of bewilderment scores every moment of Lucid's much-anticipated debut album.
Garden of Lucid is a world unto itself. A loosely-structured concept album, the aforementioned garden is one Lucid's own creation, a space where she can freely lay her diary-like approach to lyricism and enthralling songwriting sense for all to witness. Sung in both Spanish and English, there is an overarching mysticism that flows through the familiar realm of the Mexican-Dominican artist's nine tracks.
In the opening track, "Garden," Lucid's sage-like voice beckons us into her garden, as sprawling and twisted vines creep along the floors of the brooding soundscape. That siren call soon gives way to a heavenly fusion of '70s psych rock and modern-day indie, accented by understated, nearly-whispered Spanish vocals. It is more than a praise-worthy first-impression; the effect is practically hypnotic.
The following song, "Cuando," takes more of a direct note from her closest musical cohorts, evoking the indie-R&B and soul tension of Yellow Days and King Krule. Then there are tracks like the expansive and sway-inducing "Questioning My Mind" and "Story To Tell," which arrive as true demonstrations of Lucid's ability to blend weighty introspection and genuinely infectious songwriting with an effortless grace. Perhaps nowhere does this gift truly shine more than on the cosmically powerful "Universe," a transcendent ode to giving away control to powers beyond your comprehension.
As the fizzling embers of "The Garden Song (outro)" burn out and glimmers of production slowly fade into nothingness, Lucid closes the chapter on Garden of Lucid. Yet, in many ways, this feels like just the beginning of Lucid and her story.
Listen to Garden of Lucid below: