“Top Ten Albums of 2019” – Voted by KEXP DJs John Richards and Morgan Chosnyk
“Heavenly harmonies” – The Seattle Times
“Impressive dreamy soundscapes…and [majestic] songwriting” – KEXP 90.3 FM
“Sonically and melodically brilliant” – Seattle Music Insider
Swansea, the third record from the Pacific Northwest’s Lemolo, is an ethereal experience bolstered by crashing waves of sound intertwined with hauntingly powerful vocals. Underpinning this soundscape are poignant, insightful lyrics about various moments of loss. Exploring both the sting and peace of newfound solitude, Lemolo’s Swansea is a vivid exploration of a turbulent emotional landscape that resonates as a foundational part of the human experience. Swansea was just named one of the Top Ten Albums of 2019 by KEXP DJs John Richards and Morgan Chosnyk.
Lemolo is the creative brainchild of Seattle based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Meagan Grandall. Since forming in 2009, Lemolo has released three full-length albums, The Kaleidoscope, Red Right Return, and now Swansea, and has been a staple of the Seattle music scene. The records were subsequently included in KEXP’s “Top Listener Voted Albums” of the year lists, and led Lemolo to be voted “Best New Band” by City Arts Magazine and named one of Google Play’s “Best Unsigned Artists of the Year.” With support from a talented host of musicians, Grandall has had the pleasure of touring nationwide and performing with acts such as The Head and the Heart and Sharon Van Etten.
Swansea was written at Grandall’s home in the namesake Lemolo neighborhood of Poulsbo, WA, where she grew up surrounded by evergreen trees and Puget Sound waterways. The title came to her through a chance interaction with a fan from Swansea, Wales. She explains, “When I first read the word Swansea, it evoked so much emotion and imagery for me that it kept lingering in my mind as I was writing each song. As the record came into its own, I became aware of the overarching and recurring themes of loss, solitude, and recovery – whether it was exploring the loss of love, the loss of friendship, or the death of a friend. This led me to create my own concept of ‘Swansea’, which serves as a framework into which each song fits.”
Grandall defines her “Swansea” as “the vast place we find ourselves in when we lose someone. We are alone for the first time in what feels like forever, almost as if we are out to sea in our own solitude. But it is not necessarily a sad place. It is where we find strength in remembering how to stand on our own two feet.” The album dives courageously into this complex, turbulent expanse, its melodic crests and troughs reflecting upon Grandall’s relationship to this conceptual “Swansea”.
When it came time to track the record, Grandall turned to Seattle’s Nathan Yaccino (Soundgarden, Noah Gundersen) for production and engineering at his studio, The Ballard Baitshop; once an old sailmaking loft. Working in close collaboration, Grandall performed vocals, electric guitar, piano, synth, and bass and turned to Yaccino for drums, percussion, and additional guitar, bass, cello, and vibraphone. The record also features appearances by Alex Guy (Led to Sea) on string arrangements, violin, and viola, Maria Scherer Wilson on cello, and Jon Karschney (Seattle Symphony) on French horn. The record was mixed in house by Yaccino and mastered by Ed Brooks of Resonant Mastering.
Sweeping and transcendent, Swansea sees Lemolo leading us on a dreamy excursion, our direction illuminated by her guidance. Ultimately, we learn that while “Swansea” is not a forever place, the lessons learned there last indefinitely.
Contact | email@example.com
Photo | Jaquilyn Shumate
HMU | Madeline Ervin