LERA LYNN, Something More Than Love
Lera Lynn has spent a decade blurring the boundaries between genres, carving out a sound inspired by art-pop, indie-folk, and the outer edges of American roots music. She's a singer/songwriter. A road warrior. A multi-instrumentalist and producer capable not only of collaborating with her heroes, as she did on 2018's Plays Well With Others, but also of forging an entire album without outside help, as she did on 2020's On My Own.
Nothing, though, could have prepared Lynn for the lessons learned during motherhood. She welcomed her first son during the early months of the pandemic and began writing down her insights, chronicling this newfound experience of shifting priorities, strange endings, and new beginnings. Inside, she was battling postpartum depression. Outside, a bigger picture began taking shape: a feeling of interconnectedness, of cyclic renewal, of the knowledge that every beginning is an end and every end is a beginning. Those realizations coalesced into Something More Than Love, a record filled with synthesizers, lush soundscapes, the pop-noire punch of Lynn's voice, and the most dynamic melodies of her career.
Inspired by the cyclical patterns that shape our place in the world, Something More Than Love was co-produced and largely performed by Lynn and her partner, Todd Lombardo. They'd met years earlier, not long after Lynn relocated to Nashville from her college town (and musical launchpad) of Athens, Georgia. "My first time co-writing a song in Nashville was with Todd," she says of the Grammy-nominated songwriter and ACM-nominated multi-instrumentalist. The two became fast friends and, eventually, partners, their creative chemistry giving way to romance and a growing family. That partnership reached a new milestone in 2021, with the newfound parents sharpening their creative instincts and expanding their palette for Lynn's sixth album.
"A lot of people were making records during the pandemic," Lynn notes, "and all they had was time. But it was the opposite experience for us. We created this whole record while still in the fog of early parenthood, and we didn't have the luxury of waiting for lightning to strike. We had to be focused and intentional."
Something More Than Love marks a natural expansion beyond the forward-thinking folk-pop of her 2014 album, The Avenues, as well as the textured torch songs she wrote and performed during season two of HBO's True Detective. It's the sound of an artist who's always been comfortable exploring the grey area between genres. Striking a balance between intimate self-reflection and universal insight, Something More Than Love poses big questions over even bigger-sounding music, with tempos and layered arrangements that find Lynn at her most dynamic.
"It doesn't feel like a new direction to me," says Lynn, who reached out to a small number of guests — including drummer Ian Fitchuk, bassist Robby Handley, and cellist Nat Smith — to add drive and dimension to the recordings. "It just feels like a progression. People are ready for this sound and this energy. After the two years we've all had, the world is ready to come out of hiding. I certainly am."
"Illusion" opens the album with spacey synthesizers before snapping into a taut, 1980s-influenced groove, combing reverb and rhythm into a song that swoons one minute and struts the next. "I'm Your Kamikaze" — a deconstructed burst of indie garage-rock, heavy on melody and percussive pulse — unfolds like a salute to self-sacrifice, with Lynn dedicating her own existence to ensuring her child's flourishing. "What Is This Body?" finds her reassessing her ideas of physical identity and womanhood, while the album's gorgeous title track makes room for slow-burn strings and a meteoric chorus.
Together, those songs turn Lera Lynn's experience with absolute surrender — surrendering oneself to the trials and triumphs of motherhood — into a universal record about the experiences that bind us together. This isn't just Lynn's story. It's the story of a life cycle that repeats itself over and over, every termination point becoming a starting line, every death matched by a rebirth, every edge giving way to the circular slope of the ouroboros.