Spencer LaJoye Gets Reflective with Evocative Folk-pop on ‘Remember the Oxygen’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Spencer LaJoye is a singer-songwriter from Boston. They grew up in a family of musicians and began playing violin at age 5. They pursued classical music when they wrote their first EP while pursuing a degree in theology at a Christian college.

Their new EP Remember the Oxygen was written throughout the process of coming out as transgender/non-binary. Of the process and the EP, they said, “As it turns out, I knew who I was from the very beginning. I just had to let some things burn, let some things hurt, and finally, remember my own oxygen.” That burn and that hurt was channeled into beautiful songs. 

“Breathing” is a gorgeous and evocative pop song. The melody is reminiscent of early Tom Waits. The melody is mostly subdued, but it builds in the middle, making the song even more emotionally powerful. In an even and clear voice, Lajoye sings, “A very wise woman once told me I couldn’t keep carrying everyone else, that I need to remember the oxygen for myself.” You can feel the liberation as they sing about just breathing.

The strings give these songs a rich texture. They also create a cinematic feel. “House Fires” is an excellent example of how LaJoye can tell a story. The story in this song of a mother who is afraid of house fires and makes a list of things to take in case the house catches fire. You can envision each family member taking what’s important to them from family photos to a new violin. 

LaJoye not only knows how to tell a story but also to create drama in the melodies. While some singers create drama with the vocals, LaJoye does it by changing from muted to layered sounds. The result is a collection of pretty folk-pop songs that serve as an examination of the person LaJoye is.

Photo credit: Whitney Wilson and Hannah LaJoye photography

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