REVIEW

ALBUM REVIEW: Valerie June - The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers

DREAMER: Tennessee Americana artist Valerie June has expanded her sonic palette on her fifth album.

DREAMER: Tennessee Americana artist Valerie June has expanded her sonic palette on her fifth album.

ON Valerie June's fourth album The Order Of Time she invited the listener to join her dancing on the Astral Plane where you're "blind, but yet you see so clear" with its "holy water cleansing rain."

Fours years on the Tennessee-bred Americana artist has immersed herself in her fantasy world on the atmospheric The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers.

Perhaps it's the 39-year-old's method of coping with the trauma of America's COVID-19 disaster, Trump's divisive presidency and the Black Lives Matter movement. However, June's music has always carried a dream-like quality.

The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers blends her traditional Appalachian folk and bluegrass sounds with atmospheric synths, programmed beats and even short meditative instrumental tracks.

The result is an album that feels like a exercise in mindfulness orchestrated by June's sweet moonshine-soaked vocal.

The Moon and Stars is a more subdued affair than The Order Of Time and June's breakthrough third album, Pushin' Against A Stone (2013) which was produced by Dan Auerbach.

The hymn-like You and I makes full use of June's voice, where she almost channels late Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan.

The result is an album that feels like a exercise in mindfulness orchestrated by June's sweet moonshine-soaked vocal.

For all the album's spacey textures, the stripped-back Fallin' with just an acoustic guitar and June's vocal is stunningly fragile. Call Me A Fool, featuring Memphis great Carla Thomas, sees June back in soul-pop territory backed by soaring horns.

June remains one of the most unique voices in popular music and The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers is exactly what the doctored ordered.

4 stars

This story Valerie June prescribes album of sweet dreams first appeared on Newcastle Herald.