Underdressed at the Symphony

Underdressed at the Symphony

Faye Webster’s fifth album marks the point of full immersion when it comes to the Atlanta songwriting prodigy’s sly, shifting aesthetic. The tones are richer and deeper; the arrangements expand and breathe like massive lungs; her voice layers over itself and ripples, decadent and deeply felt. Webster’s genre-blending approach may have been slightly overstated in the past—a result of her early association with Atlanta’s rascally, defunct hip-hop crew Awful Records—but her sonic playfulness has never been more fully realized than it is on on Underdressed at the Symphony. Slinky, flute-dotted R&B is situated up against sumptuous country pop and grungy flips on ’50s sock-hop rock music; longtime friend and rap chameleon Lil Yachty pops up on “Lego Ring” as the pair switch off from a Weezer-esque chug to spacey, astral psych-rock. Lyrically, Underdressed at the Symphony—which was written and recorded coming off of a breakup—carries Webster’s now-trademarked mixture of emotional intimacy and straightforward humor. She finds potency in simple sentiments (“Thinking About You,” “He Loves Me Yeah!”), and on the sparse hyperpop “Feeling Good Today,” she details the small pleasures that come with moving through one’s daily existence. “I used to be self-conscious/Well, really, I still am/I’m just better at figuring out why,” Webster ruminates over the lush guitars of “Wanna Quit All the Time,” one of several songs that feature Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. This is music that’s as mesmerizing as it is disarmingly personal, and Underdressed at the Symphony represents an artist who, similar to cosmic kin Cass McCombs, seems increasingly intent on proving she really can do anything.

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