In Search Of The Antidote



by Brendan Schroer STAFF
March 26th, 2024 | 4 replies

Release Date: 03/22/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The search might take a while

”Here I fucking go again.”

This blunt admission is the first thing you’ll hear on In Search of the Antidote, and it’s a not-so-subtle reminder of the groundwork Fletcher established on her 2022 debut. When Girl of My Dreams dropped, the singer-songwriter was praised for her ability to meld glossy pop aesthetics with frank lyrical honesty. And while the result wasn’t exactly groundbreaking – hell, fellow newcomer Tate McRae had trodden similar artistic territory that same year – it served as a nice launchpad for Fletcher to hone her blend of the catchy and the contemplative.

Well, I regret to announce that In Search of the Antidote suffers from the dreaded sophomore slump. Yet on paper, all the pieces were in place for another solid outing: Fletcher’s brand of candid vulnerability is still present, as are the strong vocal performances. However, despite its initial resemblance to Girl of My Dreams, the record ultimately falters in two major aspects: the songcraft and production work. And you don’t need to go very far to find an example of this, as opener “Maybe I Am” illustrates these issues quite well; while Fletcher’s vocals remain as charismatic and enjoyable as ever, the music anchoring her is the same dull stadium pop/rock we’ve heard a billion times by now. Huge choruses and blaring synths, but not much substance to support them.

Things don’t improve much from here either, as even the more organic tunes have a similar layer of artifice and banality about them. “Eras of Us”, despite its earnest guitar intro, soon falls into the same faux-anthemic territory as the opener; the uninspired vocal melodies and paint-by-numbers drumming quickly bury the song’s tender message of youthful romance. Meanwhile, “Crush” starts off promisingly with some delicate acoustic guitar and engaging wordplay, only for its second half to be dominated by the same bland beats and edgeless mix. Now, if it seems like I’m being too harsh toward fun arena-ready tunes or maximalist production work in general, I assure you that I’m not. Rather, the issue lies in how these qualities actively undercut Fletcher’s established persona as an introspective yet forthcoming musical diarist. The (attempted) moments of catharsis here don’t feel nearly as powerful or moving as the ones found on the debut, and so much of that comes from how colorless and lifeless the music itself tends to be.

It’s a shame, because In Search of the Antidote has several individual moments that prove to be quite lovely – the breezy acoustic intro of “Ego Talking”, Fletcher’s raw belting on “Pretending”, and the poignant folk-pop verses of closer “Antidote” are just a few shining examples of this. In fact, the latter is arguably the best overall song as well, and provides a nice glimpse into the potential this project had. Sadly, the relative adventurousness of Girl of My Dreams has been traded in for trite stadium-pop fodder that doesn’t play into Fletcher’s core strengths as an artist. Here’s hoping she can adopt a more interesting approach for album #3.

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user ratings (7)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2024


Album Rating: 2.3

Bit of a shorter review this time around, but there's only so much I could go on about how bland the album is. This is quite disappointing, considering how promising the debut was :/

Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2024


Nice write up Koris! Unfortunate that it seems like a stinker, definitely saw some potential with her debut but all the singles I've heard so far sound boring af.

Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2024


Album Rating: 2.3

Thanks man! Yeah, I really hope she takes her sound in a different direction next time... this hollow Imagine Dragons-core stuff ain't it

March 28th 2024


Album Rating: 3.0

This is a bummer, I really liked her debut too and saw a lot of potential

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