Tica Douglas returns with the new album Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us on Team Love Records. If 2014's Joey was about turning inwards, these songs were about looking outwards. Joey had a raw, concentrated purview: Tica's quietly turbulent coming-of-age as a gender outlier. Lady Star, on the other hand, is the personal turning a little more political - and spiritual. Part of this can be attributed to Tica's pursuing a master's of divinity right after finishing Joey. While the former album is characterized by a youthful longing for answers and a bedroom-folk sound, Lady Star yields to a deeper interest - and trust - in the unknown and the unpredictable.
Sonically, Douglas explores how different arrangements can buoy and enhance a song's emotional life, resulting in heavy, sprawling tracks like "Down and Out" and "It Moves Me." Much of Lady Star deals with a sense of feeling paralyzed by indecision: whether the world is full of beauty or disaster; whether hopefulness is necessary or naive; whether justice is better attained with clear ideas of "right" and "wrong," or if the desire for a neat reality impedes progress. "The Same Thing" perhaps captures this feeling best: moments of optimism coexist with a lamenting refrain about single-mindedness: "Everyone's saying the same thing."
Tica's voice takes on an omniscient quality throughout Lady Star. Listening to the album is like rereading your favorite book: the book you've underlined the shit out of, that you revisit not necessarily to be uplifted, but to be comforted in the knowledge that someone has put your feelings into words so well that you now have a clearer understanding of yourself. There is a new grittiness as Tica guides us through the cloudy waters of the everyday -- in which we learn that nothing is absolute. But maybe truth can be found somewhere in the murky unknowing.