Singer-songwriter Talena Bricker’s latest EP, War Lines, is an engaging indie-folk offering that balances poetic abstraction with visceral emotionality. It’s a rare feat to be broadly resonate yet wield mystique. The result is that the Pacific Northwest native’s sophomore album satisfies like a work of literature, and it rewards with repeated listens. The more you immerse yourself in Talena’s songs, the more meaning you find. War Lines will be preceded by the single, “Done No Wrong" and "In-Betweens."
“When I write, I’m grappling with complicated feelings and narratives. I ask questions in music and leave things open-ended and unresolved. That’s life, and that’s what feels human to me. It brings me a beautiful catharsis, and it helps me to connect with others as they can use these songs to make sense of their own lives,” the Richland, Washington-based artist shares.
After decades of privately writing songs, in 2018 Talena boldly stepped forward with her debut EP. Her first release was an intimate voice and acoustic guitar record that earned rave reviews from online outlets such as Ear To The Ground and When The Horn The Blows. Since then, Talena has grown artistically through playing shows, and sharing her music in front of live audiences. Her latest release, War Lines, finds her incorporating a lusher Americana soundscape into her literate indie-folk. This expanded palette of instrumentation includes ethereal pedal steel, pastoral violin flourishes, and sensitive guitar, bass, and drums interplay. Talena’s latest work recalls the subtle country-tinged beauty of songwriter indie artists such as Gregory Alan Isakov, Patrick Park, and John Paul White. The 5-song EP was recorded at Rye Room in Portland by studio owner and producer Matt Greco.
The rousing single, “Done No Wrong,” conjures starry nights of contemplation when everything is beautiful around you while pain smolders inside your heart. That juxtaposition is brought home with lonesome pedal steel guitar textures and the song’s country-tinged melancholic tonality. The lyrics here are pent-up and poetic. One choice portion includes: You can’t wash me clean and you won’t save my soul/But down to the river, down to the river I’ll run/You take me to when I was young and I had done no wrong. There is mystery and excitement coursing through the song. Talena reveals: “I think, in the end, the song became about hope. And how hope is a wonderful thing, but can also be a little scary. It can be that extra push to get out of your comfort zone and do something scary.”