An artist’s third album stands as an opportunity to either establish themselves as a fully-fledged artist capable of keeping themselves fresh or see themselves fall into a rut and fade into obscurity; Lissie has thankfully taken the former path on My Wild West. Deciding to take a step into far more mature territory, she’s dropped some elements of her old style but managed to replace them with something that more cohesive and genuinely enjoyable. Add to that an incorporation of more personal elements to bring the album into a bigger league, and she’s easily topped herself this time.
Rather than rehashing the pop moments of Catching a Tiger and Back to Forever, My Wild West focuses almost entirely on folk, with the lead single Hero acting as a prime example; the semi-autobiographical lyrics carry the song perfectly, and these undertones run throughout the album. Simple arrangements dominate the album, but often swell into something larger—Sun Keeps Risin’, one of the album’s best produced tracks, starts with nothing but guitar and vocals before breaking into a wall of emotion with Lissie vocalising on top of a heavier rock arrangement. When the album goes upbeat on Don’t You Give Up On Me, though, it still keeps to the album’s thematic sound thanks to the country undertones, offering the album some variety while keeping it relevant.
In the end, Lissie’s clear artistic vision is what really made My Wild West compelling. She not only compiled the best elements of her previous work into a neat package, but she refined her style and drew her lyrics from a more mature and sincere place that left the album standing high above its predecessors. It’s the defining album of Lissie’s career so far, leaving us with the promise that the follow-up may be just as satisfying now that she’s proved her artistic mettle.