Review Summary: A solid release from a girl with a good voice.I Love Your Glasses
is an album of ups and downs. Not to be mistaken as a metaphor to the ups and downs of Lourdes Hernández’s erratic singing, the collection of songs she offers to us under the guise of Russian Red does not follow a single mood, and can be genuinely heartfelt, easily seeping beneath your skin. Unfortunately for Hernández, her voice cannot save some of the songs on this record. Hernández truly has a fantastic voice, and her lack of control over it and occasional strange pronunciation gives both her and the album a defining character. What brings the album down however, is that for every three songs that make you stop and think, ‘When was the last time I told someone I loved them"’, there’s one that is painfully average, not to mention several instances of vocal delivery that are nothing short of cringe-worthy. Whether it is over the course of the entire album, or within a single song, these sparsely placed ‘downs’ are very noticeable and are obstacles to the album’s flow. Nevertheless, there is a strong presence behind the so called ‘ups’, and it’s their strength alone that gives I Love Your Glasses
its sense of attraction.
Armed with an acoustic guitar and not much else, Hernández all but commands the album. The music is very sparse, in a way dry, and it is Hernández’s voice that saturates the songs and fills in the gaps. Even so, there is still a subtle earthy feel, characterized by both the vocal style and musical arrangements. A suitable example is the second track ‘No Past Land’, with both its suppressed percussion and flowing guitar lines. The sincere and mature songs are what one ought to think of as Russian Red. This might not match perfectly with Hernández’s intentions though. Following ‘No Past Land’, we’re given the track ‘They Don’t Believe’ which is in a way chirpy, in a way cutesy, and not the way I want to think of as Russian Red. Fortunately for me, this is only one of two tracks which really step out of line in this respect, and are well apart from each other. The other is the track ‘Take Me Home’, which is easily the weakest track on the album. Driven by the line ‘Take me home, take me home, take me home, no no’, this is
a song that will make you cringe and press skip. Those two tracks are the worst offenders, and on the whole the rest of the album gleams with my [the best] preference of Russian Red.
The more sincere approach to her music is without a doubt the more successful, and any deviation from this feels out of place and unwelcome. Hernández obviously has a knack for giving a strong emotional performance, but tracks such as ‘They Don’t Believe’ neglect this ability and undermine the rest of the songs. However, as she says in the track ‘Timing is Crucial’, the timing of the dud tracks are well thought out, spread out so evenly that you’re not left with a bad song following another. It’s probably farfetched to think of this as an intended result, but it maximises the album's tenacity and flow. To finish on a high note, Hernández closes the album with a showcase of her versatility as an artist; a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. The original of this song is nothing more than terrible, and I dislike it with an intense passion. Hernández takes the lyrics, the melody, and really makes something else. All the elements that characterize I Love Your Glasses
are layered over this terrible piece of music from the 80s, making it not only bearable, but somewhat enjoyable to listen to.
What is the probably the album’s strongest point is that Hernández manages to render the songs into raw emotion, simply with her voice. There’s always an unseen but easily felt push beneath the songs, most noticeable on the track ‘Hold it Inside’, which seethes with a Velvet Underground-like tension. Rather than feeling terse and jumpy however, there’s a remarkable coolness about the songs, which surprisingly, and illogically, goes hand in hand with the tension. On the whole, this is an album that is listenable, pleasant and heart-warming; the soundtrack to drifting thoughts, to nostalgic moments, and to hazy evenings where worry and stress are a thing of yesterday.