Lifted (Desert Folklore / Thirty Tigers)
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., July 27, 2018
An Americana artist adept at psychedelic layering, Israel Nash expands into kaleidoscopic sonic textures on fifth studio album Lifted. Bass and drums rumble under Nash's starry, Dripping Springs sky alongside streaming guitars and synthesizer. One of two whirring instrumental intros on the LP precedes "Rolling On," a triumphant tribute to personal persistence. The brazen track sets the collection's ambitious tone, channeling the War on Drugs' steely maximalism and noted influence John Cage's randomized compositions. Ensuing "Looking Glass" introduces bright horns from Grupo Fantasma and orchestral accents via Wild Child, interwoven with Nash's ethereal vocal echo. Naturally sourced samples, including crickets on outro "SpiritFalls," imbue the album with a meditative state. On penultimate cut "Strong Was the Night," the 37-year-old sings, "Everything has a story/ All things they must pass/ Once it brought me strife and worry/ Now at times it makes me laugh." Lifted soundtracks the scaling of mountains, both geographic and internal.