Review: ‘Castles’ by Lissie

Castles cover photo courtesy of Lissie’s website

Singer-songwriter Lissie released her fourth studio album Castles on March 23 and it is EPIC. The album was written largely from her farm in Iowa and follows 2016’s My Wild West (which was written during and after her move to Iowa from California).

Lissie is so brilliant and I loved her music for a long time, since first discovering an alternative version of her song ‘When I’m Alone‘ (Catching A Tiger, 2010) on YouTube many moons ago.

Photo by Gretchen Robinette

With each new album, we see Lissie experiment not only lyrically but musically as well. Castles is almost symphonic – more dream-pop than the folk-rock sound that she is known for, but while there is change, much remains the same: Lissie’s lyrical genius and her powerful voice.

Lissie is a versatile artist, and Castles isn’t the first time she’s experimented with sounds and genres. In her 2011 EP Covered Up With Flowers, Lissie covers, in her own style, six diverse songs including Kid Cudi’s ‘Pursuit of Happiness’, Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’, and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’.

According to Lissie’s website:

Castles represents a spiritual, as well as musical development: it’s a portrait of an artist who has always been on the move, and is finally creating a sense of permanency; a chance to catch her breath and reflect.

Castles is about transformation and the balance between self-reliance, the longing for love and the need of feeling whole – the trials and tribulations of life, love, and loss. It’s about walking blindly into the darkness, the unknown, only to arrive on the other side stronger than ever.

I really get the feeling that Castles is for Lissie, as much as it is for her fans.

Photo by William Aubrey Reynolds

I really love the entire album and have been listening to it on repeat since its release. The tracks that I am really digging are:
World Away
Crazy Girl
Blood & Muscle
Best Days
Love Blows

‘World Away’ and ‘Meet Me in the Mystery’ sound like they could be tracks off of a Fleetwood Mac album.

‘Somewhere’ is absolutely gorgeous, especially the part after the bridge, before the chorus.

‘Love Blows’ is a power ballad and so fun to sing and rock-out to!

‘Peace’ is so beautifully driving and ethereal – I love the guitar, I could just jam out to an instrumental of this song but Lissie’s voice and lyrics truly make the song.

Photo by Jørund Førland Pedersen

All-in-all Castles is a stellar album, easily her best release. Lissie consistently delivers, and despite experimentation, stays so, so true to herself… awesome album. I highly recommend you check it out!