With "Little Love", New York indie-pop duo, Roan Yellowthorn, have announced the release of their forthcoming new album Another Life on May 14, 2021 via Blue Élan Records. The John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Alvvays, Dinosaur Jr.) produced 11-song set features Jackie McLean’s lush keyboards and keening, incisive vocals over the intricate drums of her partner Shawn Strack, with additional keys by Andy Burton, gentle guitar flourishes from Emil Amos, Mary Lattimore’s dreamy harp sounds, and basslines from Jesske Hume. Although airy dream-pop and laid-back '80s synth-pop are touchstones, Another Life boasts bursts of unexpected sonic color throughout.
Out today, the first single "Little Love" is a tender song that uses a unique structure—a refrain at the end of verses rather than a proper chorus—to explore the emotional nuances of a terminated pregnancy McLean experienced when she was 20, and how the experience still lingers today.
Overall, the album’s themes are deeply personal for McLean, who recently revealed a childhood marked by frequent run-ins with her famous father (Don McLean of “American Pie” fame), where she was subjected to mental and emotional abuse. McLean channels her own process of healing and the rebuilding of her own sense of self-worth. This album was cathartic in that respect — allowing the songwriter to funnel her pain into her songwriting.
Producer Agnello couldn't be more pleased with how the album sounds. "In a song and arrangement sense, I marvel at how the songs build naturally throughout, how choruses open up and become grander," he says. "And then when you put Jackie’s beautiful melodies and voice on top, it’s the total package."
McLean adopted the moniker Roan Yellowthorn in part to separate herself from her father, but also to attempt to heal from the wounds of a very troubled childhood filled with verbal and emotional abuse that continued into young adulthood.
“Sharing about my experiences was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But the response has been mind-blowing,” explains McLean. “People from far and wide have reached out to me, and I’ve realized that I am not alone in the experiences I’ve had. None of us are. Once we start to talk about what we’ve lived through, it’s clear — the only thing that isolates us is silence.”
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