Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega’s seventh studio album Liberty offers an interesting addition amongst 2018’s releases. Ortega delivers an album undoubtedly inspired by conventions of the Spaghetti Western genre that tells a story of the loneliness of vengeance and transcendental redemption.
Laden with gothic overtones, Liberty remains a well-crafted concept album of the same caliber as Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and Kenny Roger’s Gideon.
The lyrics of this album bears a story telling quality that is best demonstrated in country. Most tracks of the album follow a distinctive speaker. However, it was a clever choice to keep the lyrics in the first person. The use of this perspective allows each track to stand out while also giving solidarity to the album. As far as content, the lyrics have a very southern gothic quality. There’s a lot of reference to supernatural entities in the cut “Darkness Be Gone,” a track that best exhibits the musical aspects of the album, lyrically and harmonically.
Musically, the album reflects the nocturnal motif of the narrative lyrics with its dark harmonies and dour ambience. Liberty opens with “Through the Dust, pt. 1,” the first of a three part instrumental interlude that serves as the perfect introduction to the album. Its composition remains reminiscent of Western soundtracks, most notably Ennio Moricone’s iconic The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. On songs that include lyrics, the harmony is kept sparse to emphasize the ghostly tone of Ortega and focus listeners on the story. That isn’t to say that the music doesn’t have its strengths. The lead guitar work, particularly in “Afraid of the Dark,” contributes ominous, melodic responses to each verse. Overall, the contributions of the band serve both to compliment the lyrics whilst creating a characteristic sound.