Just when I thought we were finished reviewing new songs for the year, Lucy Dacus returned a few days ago with the stunning opening track to her sophomore album Historian, set for release early next year. “Night Shift” has three incredibly distinct parts – more than justifying the near seven minute duration – that grow in power as the track plays on. It begins soft and sparse in its instrumentals, but immediately takes shape with Dacus’s signature poetic narrative that borders more on the visceral side, both emotionally and visually: “the first time I tasted someone else’s spit/ I had a coughing fit/ I mistakenly called them by your name/ I was let down, it wasn’t the same.” Her voice floats and expands with each confession and reflective speculation about her situation and personality until about four minutes in, where coarse, distorted guitars take over just as Dacus’s bright croon explodes into a cry, explaining “you’ve got a 9 to 5, so I’ll take the night shift/ and I’ll never see you again, if I can help it.” The fact that these happen subsequently hints that this is not a song of despair and self-deprecation as it first appears, but hopeful instead, and Dacus’s shout into the void transforms into one of euphoria rather than desperation.
Historian will be released on 3/2/17 via Matador Records.
photo by Dustin Condren