Lydia Loveless : Indestructible Machine

No matter what the genre, whenever a younger musician enters the scene there will be inevitable comparisons to those who have already secured their place on the ladder. I’ll leave these foreseeable comparisons to each of you, as I find Lydia Loveless’ talent to be true to who she is. She’s not chasing anyone else out of their yard, but she is shouting out loud enough that people are beginning to look over the fence into her’s. What they’re going to find is a hot rod in drive singing songs told from the fade of dust in her rearview mirror.

Indestructible Machine is a bar band mash-up of white-lightning songwriting delivered through an irresistible charm that’s too honest to stay true to any one category. “Bad Way to Go” opens by way of an electric guitar and a banjo in friendly unison before moving into a full country tale of love’s unfairness as told with the hard edged grit of punk in motion. “Can’t Change Me” delivers the honesty with a tale of how you’re going to have to take me as I am even during the dark times. We’ve all found ourselves in that situation at one time or another during a relationship, and Lydia would rather stick it out through the dark times alone than falsely represent herself. The album cycles through the various musical styles with “How Many Women,” a true saloon break up song complete with the weeping fiddle and pedal steel. Lydia makes a visit to the AM dial of the ‘70s when “Learn to Say No” finds its way into play. It’s the song from which the album title is taken, and it is the perfect match for a playlist during a long drive when mile markers become secondary to introspection.

At nine songs, Indestructible Machine comes across as brief, but the quality and production shine throughout, and there are simply no throwaway filler tracks. It is an album beautifully complicated by young love angst told with an old soul’s approach of simplicity. Being a child of the ‘90s (Lydia is only 21), it is refreshing to see that she has not succumbed to using anger as her songwriting muse as many artists of her generation seem to have done. Rather, Loveless effectively holds a mirror up to reveal the visage of mistrust, whether it is her own or directed at another. While anger burns out leaving a need for personal repair, Lydia skillfully realizes the personal growth that rests behind a cautionary stance rather than that of a reactionary one. It’s a lesson many songwriters 25 years her elder have not yet come to realize.

It’s a release such as Indestructible Machine that should throw a ripple into the stagnant pond of the “American Idol” talent pool. It will be another few years of touring while adding to her songwriting cannon with real world knowledge until the real waves reach the general public. But, for now, pick up the album and drink in her bare testimonials of truth.

Indestructible Machine is out now on Bloodshot Records.