It’s been a couple of years since we’ve heard from Lisa Mitchell and after her sophomore studio album “Bless This Mess” almost went un-noticed I was unsure if we would get to hear this vulnerable voice again. But thankfully she’s been resurrected with the experimental “Warriors”. This album steps away from the comfortable indie-pop and folk crossover and sees her experimenting with a more melodic synth approach. Her vocals have this rare, airy vulnerability that transports the listener to a realm of tranquility and this album perfectly captures that raw emotion. Lead single and album opener “The Boys” delivers a sun-soaked sound with a darker commentary of how boys are always showing affection to each other by playing games, joking around or drinking with a real light heartedness which is very different to the way girls interact with each other. She confesses in the chorus “I think I’m beginning to care” after noticing the behavioural difference. And this sets the whole tone for the album because she manages to deliver a very bright sounding song while delivering dark undertones with the lyrics and her cautious vocal delivery. Title track “Warriors” carries on this sound soaked with synths and a dark look at the passing of youth while “Warhol” amps it up a little with the production and confronts bottled up anger. The album then experiments with different lyrical concepts like the gradient pop track “Unravelling” which is written about experiencing a friend going through motherhood. And then in “So Wild” she explains her journey of discovery through plant based medicines while in “Josephine” she creates a fictional character to represent hope, love and innocence. These songs have a more spiritual essence in their production and is perfectly complemented by my favourite track on the album, “Where You Are”. This song is written in the perspective of the earth and what it would say to the habitants about really appreciating it. This is a concept I personally haven’t thought about before but it made me stop and think about what trace I am leaving behind, and that is a powerful thing. And don’t be totally disheartened as she does re-visit her roots with the natural and reflective songs “I Remember Love”, “What Is Love” and “Love, Death x” which are less production focused and more reliant on her vocals and delivery.
This isn’t a big pop record nor is it the folk-pop cross over that you would expect from Lisa Mitchell. “Warriors” is a more relevant and relatable collection of tracks that perfectly captures the artist she has become. It’s a bold direction that gambles on a raw connection through the vocal delivery and lyrical understanding while giving the listener a more sun-soaked sound that is festival and summer ready.