We’re in self-isolation, watching the hours on the clock. We’ve listened to our back catalogues a couple of times over and need some new music to cut through the boredom. Well, ladies and gentlemen, here is Ingrid Andress’s stunning debut album, ‘Lady Like’.
Majoring in song writing and music performance at Berklee College of Music, this girl is the real deal. Five of the eight tracks have been previously released, but somehow them all hanging together in one album makes the picture complete.
‘Bad Advice’ is first up. Strings kick off the song, percussion is high in the mix, and there’s a beach-on-a-sunny-day feel to this pop song. But we’ve been fooled. It’s a different feel to the rest of the album. There’s a humorous theatrical tone to the vocal as Andress sings: “My sister said I’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before I find my Prince so that’s just what I did”. Well there’s certainly a lot of frogs in the next seven tracks.
‘Both’ expresses the heartfelt confusion of a couple trying to define their relationship. There’s anguish in the repetition in, “Baby love me or don’t, but you can’t do, you can’t do both”. The acoustic piano alongside a more synthetic sound builds into a power ballad of a song, the kind we’re already beginning to love Andress for and makes her songs so gut-punching.
The mood of track two continues to weave through ‘We’re Not Friends’, where there is something distinctly 80’s about the big drum beats and keys. The vocal is impressive too; the opening hushed tone in Andress’s voice shows that she can do lighter soft moments in equal measure to the big belting ones. Alongside ‘Both’, this track shows the power of music to tell a similar story in different ways and from different angles.
By the time ‘The Stranger’ hits the headphones though, the album is starting to sound a little sonically one dimensional. But that shouldn’t take away from the outstanding song writing, which is effortless, and would stand out on many albums. But on this one it’s beginning to blend.
Ingrid is still having a tough time in ‘Anything But Love’. With her musings of, “water into wine, maybe that’s the kind of miracle I need”, I’m really wishing that five tracks in Ingrid might give us something a bit lighter.
And then, this –
‘More Hearts Than Mine’ is a stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and take a moment, type of song. The song that you listen to and then send to all your friends and tell them to listen too, and then you keep listening because it gets you right in the heart. Every. Single. Time. Lyrically it’s one of the strongest songs of the last year. I don’t say it lightly when I say that it has a song writing calibre reminiscent of Miranda Lambert’s ‘The House That Built Me’.
‘Life of the Party’ rounds off the sad songs. It’s about the over indulgence and party hard ways that are just a veil to mask heartache. We’ve seen breakup from many sides on this album, and it’s beautifully done.
‘Lady Like’ brings the album to a close. The image of the lady who can “drink tequila straight” jars with the polished perfection of Andress’s song writing. But the passionate, rebel woman she paints a picture of is every bit a lady, and we’ll forgive her if she wants to leave her “lipstick in a cigarette pack on the dash”. This song warms us to Andress – if we thought the rest of the album was a little too slick, this track tells us she’s gritty too.
This is a classy diamond of a debut album. After listening, you’re left with the feeling that you’ve heard from someone who has the potential to be a really big star. We’re all feeling a little bit melancholy at the moment – this is a stellar album that might help get you through.
- “Bad Advice” Ingrid Andress, Derrick Southerland, Jamie Moore
- “Both” Ingrid Andress, Derrick Southerland, Jordan Schmidt
- “We’re Not Friends” Ingrid Andress, AJ Pruis, Derrick Southerland, Nate Cyphert
- “The Stranger” Ingrid Andress, Ryan Lafferty
- “Anything But Love” Ingrid Andress, Jamie Floyd, Zach Abend
- “More Hearts Than Mine” Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland
- “Life of the Party” Ingrid Andress, Jason Yik Nam Wu, Jesse Thomas
- “Lady Like” Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland