AVEC – Homesick
There’s a lot of joy to be found in discovering new music. Stumbling across a band or artist whose music speaks to you is like finding a rare and beautiful flower tucked away in a neglected corner of your garden. However there’s a whole other kind of joy attached to seeing an artist evolve. Hearing their sound expand and develop, and seeing them become more assured as a musician and performer over time, is like seeing that same flower bloom and thrive. With her third album Homesick Austrian singer/songwriter AVEC has really blossomed as an artist to offer up a vibrant bouquet of a record.
Her first album won me over with her airy folk pop style akin to Gabrielle Aplin or Ben Howard, and the second album saw that same formula being polished and refined. While those elements are still an important part of this latest release, what really makes Homesick shine is how it pushes into new territory while still maintaining that foundation. While her previous work has been very light and airy, this record feels far warmer and more grounded. The hooks are more infectious, there’s more of an upbeat positive energy to the music than the bittersweet feeling that we’re used to, and there’s a faint thread of Fleetwood Mac vibes that ties everything together.
You can chart the path that AVEC’s songwriting has taken, how her command of melody and the way she composes compelling choruses has grown with each new release. That definitely has a part to play. Musically though the real inciting spark that makes this latest effort feel like her finest album yet is in the addition of a really engaging rhythm section. The emphatic drums on tracks like ‘Dance Solo’, ‘Mona’ and ‘Way Out’, and the understated bass grooves on ‘I’ll Come Back’ and the Haim-esque ‘With Me’, really make this stand out as her most fun body of work yet. The hooks on ‘Heavy on My Mind’ fall a little flat but the dash of brass in the closing moments more than makes up for it, the stripped back ‘Fire’ dips once again into her folk origins for a nice change of pace, and album highlight ‘Home’ is simply one of the best tracks of 2020 thus far.
AVEC seems to be going from strength to strength with each passing year. From promising newcomer, to rising star, and now thanks to Homesick I’d be more than willing to call her a proper Belwood favourite. Hopefully the next step on her journey will take her from being a blogger’s best kept secret to finding the mainstream success she richly deserves.