Lydia Ainsworth, “Sparkles & Debris”
Sparkles & Debris
There’s no one quite like Lydia Ainsworth—a fact she proves on her latest album Sparkles & Debris. The 11-track release shows the singer, songwriter, and producer entering a new phase with her music, dipping her toes into the world of collaboration, welcoming a live studio band in lieu of her past solitary compositions. With soulful harmonies reminiscent of HAIM, combined with deep, bass synths and twinkling, electronic melodies, her sound switches between delicate minimalist moments and flashes of angsty intensity.
Lead single “Parade” kickstarts the album with ’80s-tinged drums adding a flavor of emotion under Ainsworth’s rich tone. It’s a track for those missing a lover or a friend—or even for self-disconnection. “Diamond skies kiss my tears away / As I waltz through the night’s parade,” Ainsworth sings over an art-pop soundscape that captures her spellbinding words. Doused in electronic, glassy sounds pattering like a dewy rain, “Cake” builds up subtly into a paradise of angelic vocals. When you least expect it, the grit of guitar and clashing cymbals come flooding in, creating a mix of epic analog and digital pockets brimming with emotion. “Cake” was inspired by her sweet tooth appetite for Townes Van Zandt’s music and listening to his music exclusively while on her headlining tour across North America, Europe, and Japan.
Then there’s “Love Charm”—a song which talks of reunions in a stunning, peaceful paradise. The track comes in with a shimmering raindrop melody creating a tender, magic setting, all while building strings and synths arise, filling out the track with a powerful sense of euphoria. Despite there being an incredibly subtle sadness under the track, overall it’s comforting in its simplicity and resolving melodies.
Sparkles & Debris is a utopia of stunning art-pop soundscapes, from bold energized drums, goosebump-inducing strings, ’80s-vibe synths, and divine, soulful vocals. Including a cover of Chic’s “Good Times,” Sparkles & Debris contains an explosion of glittering harmonies and groovy moments giving this album a wide and appreciated range of twists and turns. Despite the shiny outer shells of the song titles, the themes and sounds are vulnerable and show us a darker side to emotion and experience. Ainsworth cradles our heart in a puff of angelic warmth and comfort in her dreamland lyrics and all-encompassing, superlunary tone.