Folk rock artist Lissie has a swarm of accolades to her name: she’s opened for Lenny Kravitz and Tom Petty, her debut album has been certified gold in both the UK and Norway, and Paste magazine honoured her as Best New Solo Artist in 2010. It’s easy to understand the hype upon listening to her latest single Hero, from her upcoming album My Wild West. It’s a dark, dreamy folk anthem with a steadfast rhythm and effortless, country-inspired overtones.
Hero is somewhat autobiographical, detailing the artist’s journey from a fresh-faced emerging artist to her now budding career in the Midwest. “Could have been a hero, could have been a zero, could have been all these things,” she sings through the song’s chorus, a bittersweet reflection which belies her young age. Western-inspired horns and guitars demonstrate Lissie’s talent as a writer and musician, but the vocals are the truly remarkable component of the track. Calling to mind such greats as Nancy Sinatra or Lana Del Rey, her voice is sultry and honey-toned, flowing seamlessly from a delicate croon to a powerful chorus. The final moments of the track see her racing towards a rousing conclusion, culminating in a few bars of a cappella, an ending which is striking in its simplicity.
My Wild West was produced by Grammy Award winning mixer Curt Schneider, whose influence is clear on Hero: the production quality is tight, with just the right amount of reverb and an unrelenting beat. Lissie’s previous albums are characterised by deep introspection and a profound honesty in her lyrics, and Hero is no different. It’s a promising precursor to My Wild West, teasing the audience with impeccable instrumentation and ambitious spirit.