Juana Everett’s first full length, Move On, is a mostly great take on folk rock, infusing the genre with piano and soulful vocals for an inspired update.
The two strongest tracks on the record also happen to bookend it, with the upbeat, seemingly autobiographical “Drifter of Love” kicking off the collection: The record closes on the sublime piano ballad, “Little Tragedies”. In between is a mix of some good-to-great singles as well as some more mediocre fare.
Everett, originally from Spain but now a resident of Los Angeles, seemingly put a lot of her personal experience into these songs and as a result, lyrically there is a refreshing realism to these songs. Themes of changing and moving, subtle at times and elsewhere more overt, can be found all over the record starting with the opening line of the opening track: “Early in the summer of 2016/Brave as I could be, I left my home/I wasn’t sure of what I was chasing/why I carried on.”
The album comes more than five years since her four-song debut EP, Golden Hearts, and her music has changed quite a bit over the years. Lyrically, she’s more nuanced here, her voice is far more impactful now and the music itself is a little more restrained allowing the vocals to come to the forefront. She clearly has lived plenty over the past five years and those experiences are all over the new record Everett also, impressively, produced on her own.
Despite a powerful start, the record admittedly sags a bit on songs like the droning “Fake Love”. Elsewhere, a song like the more straight-ahead rocker “Wind Whistle Blow” takes a while to catch on but improves with repeated listens. At nine tracks, Move On is a little uneven at times, but songs like heartbreaking “Little Tragedies” and “Drifter of Love” more than make up for those small missteps along the way.
Photo by Zach-Bell