ALBUM REVIEW: Ingrid Andress – ‘Lady Like’

LifeInASong_UK

Ingrid Andress is, without a doubt, one of the fastest rising stars in the emerging crop of country artists, and one of the most promising songwriters we’ve seen for some time. ‘More Hearts Than Mine’ has stormed its way into the top 10 at country radio, and a real buzz has been generated amongst fans and critics alike. She stole UK hearts with her appearances at C2C back in 2019, and it seems the big guns in Nashville are starting to take notice. With her debut album, ‘Lady Like’, we have an insight (albeit a rather short insight at just 8 tracks) into Ingrid’s honest, contemplative songwriting and vulnerable melodies which will stand her in good stead for future stardom.

‘More Hearts Like Mine’ seems the obvious place to start. One of the best country singles of the past year, certainly in terms of lyrical quality, and it’s been wonderful to see country radio react accordingly. It sees Ingrid bringing someone home, telling them it’s not just her heart on the line if the relationship doesn’t go to plan; a situation many of us will relate to, but something most of us would keep locked inside. It’s a stunning poster-song for what country music as a genre is all about, and epitomises the personal depth to Ingrid’s material.

‘Bad Advice’ is a fantastic album opener and draws us in right from the first note of that mariachi-style intro. There’s an intriguing juxtaposition of a rather uplifting melody with the aftermath of a hurtful breakup, and it sets the scene for an album which is such an open book for Ingrid. No secrets, no holding back, no regrets. There’s also no hesitancy with the style of production; it’s big, it’s bold and there has been no expense spared. That continues into the second track, ‘Both’, which boasts an absolute anthem of a chorus and a huge, powerful melody with some badass electric guitar thrown in. It’s a power ballad ready-made for an arena-sized environment.

‘We’re Not Friends’ is another of the album’s big highlights, and could well be a future single release. Following the theme of ‘Both’, it tackles the situation of falling in love with a friend but being hesitant to lay it all out on the line, it’s a slick mixture of a vulnerable country narrative with mainstream, pop-induced production. The same could be said about much of the album’s content; there’s a lot of genre-blurring material on show that could open doors outside of the Nashville circle. The video works so well with ‘We’re Not Friends’, too, adding to the raw, exposed feel of the storytelling.

And there’s no letting up as the album continues. ‘The Stranger’ is another massive crowd-pleaser simply made for the live shows, and showcases Ingrid’s vocal range to perfection. Long-term relationships always have their challenges, and there may be stages where it feels like something is missing, and that picture is painted here, once again with sublime lyricism. “Let’s trace the steps from where we’ve been, to make it feel like home again” is one of the most powerful lines on the album.

Then we come to ‘Anything But Love’, the best and by far the darkest track of the lot. The fusion of the acoustic guitar with that atmospheric groove gives this song a real uniqueness, and serves as the big pain-filled crescendo on the album. It’s a familiar tale of ‘boy moves on, I’m still feeling it’, but done in such a clever, thought-provoking manner. “One more whiskey sip till this bottle turns into a phone call. One more cigarette till this parking lot turns into your front lawn” – you can feel the depths of despair and the sheer desperation. Awesome work from Ingrid, Jamie Floyd and Zach Abend.

As the album comes to a close, we return to the melody-lyrics juxtaposition with ‘Life Of The Party’, which isn’t at all what you’d assume with a glance at the title. The strings and acoustics cement the song in the country territory whilst adopting another anthemic chorus that hits us with a huge pop explosion. The title track, ‘Lady Like’, wraps things up; another enormous piano ballad that exposes Ingrid’s flaws with no apologies, no regrets, and a defiance that her fellow ‘ladies’ will no doubt warm to. It’s an appropriate ending to an album that just doesn’t stop delivering giant moments.

There’s a refreshing open-book mentality to Ingrid’s work which runs throughout some huge anthems, with all aspects of her personality encompassed. She’s laid her heart and soul out on a plate, and consumers can take it or leave it; this is what she’s all about. At a meager 8 tracks, it’s neither an EP or an album really, and leaves us wanting so much more. But one thing’s for sure, if the quality remains consistent, we’ve got a hugely exciting prospect with Ingrid Andress.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

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