Impressive soul-searching from within strange, yet welcoming, world.
It’s a getting-to-know progress for the creative and personal partnership of Nikki Lunden and Laura Espinoza-Lunden whose debut album "American Stranger" captured them moving away from LA alienation to a friend-and-confidante intimacy that’s spectacularly realized here: whereas previously there was a red, arid, “voice in a wilderness” color scheme to the record, “Confessions” glows, especially on vinyl, with turquoise delight. Spiritual serenity is far from the ensemble’s minds, though, catchy cuts such as “Fate Of The World” going beyond purely emotional depth and tapping into global worries; more so, the road to this release has also been fraught with troubles as the band planned it for the end of 2016 but encountered some serious obstacles, including Nikki’s loss of voice due to illness.
Which is why determination rules the game on the tense, near symphonic “Never Ending Dream” and the equally reflective, alt-tinged opener “Stardust Daze” whose guitars sting and vocal harmonies caress the listener’s ears, and “Little Lost Girl” is an upbeat encouragement piece. Yet six-string riff and piano ripple are only a thread in the title track’s throb – mesmeric and enchanting in an esoteric, if memorable, way – while the folk inflections informing the drive of “Coming Home Tonight” elevate its lyricism to the sunny skies, before the heavy groove behind “Red Wagon” bids farewell to the simple pleasures of one’s past.
That’s the contrast needed to spike “Dead Man Walking” with anger and rock ‘n’ roll licks because it is exactly the drama demanded of the future heroes, and that’s what’s igniting the pop agenda of “Thunder Or The Rain” to give it hope. But the funk-fueled “Faded Memories” is so innocently sweet it’s impossible to ignore – as is the entire record whose inner sanctum may seem strange until it turns out to be all-encompassing and open for all.