Patientness exudes a confident calm that is hard to come by; maybe it’s hard-earned and resolute, perhaps it’s the result of a lot of practice and self-deception. Johanne Swanson preaches self-reliance and self-care, though she doesn’t shy away from the moments when she can’t live up to either. That’s when the magic of Yohuna’s immensely satisfying debut album is most powerful: her grip on the titular attribute is tenuous at best, threatening to break down at any second. Overcoming the inclination to please other people and instead maintain peace within yourself requires taking a million steps backwards before making one large leap forward, and Patientness is the sound of Swanson navigating towards her end goal. “Couldn’t count on you if I tried,” Swanson sings on “Golden Foil.” So instead, she’ll count on herself. It’s not an easy process, and she recognizes the times she falls back on old habits: “Patterns/ So we will repeat this/ And try to repent the worst,” she sings on “The Moon Hangs In The Sky Like Nothing Hangs In The Sky.”
To abide by the sort of values she espouses, a degree of detachment feels necessary. From your own emotions, from the pressures of the outside world. Swanson writes as an observer, taking stock of her mental state and those around her, and her music chugs along in equal measure: the sound of daily labor and putting in the time to make something beautiful seem effortless. My favorite song on the album, “World Series,” sees Swanson acting as her partner’s support system: “I know things are not so easy/ I’m your number one fan/ Not a part of the team.” That outsider feeling bleeds into the rest of their relationship, which is predicated on insecurity and bitterness and whoever breaks from pretending things are normal first. “We haven’t had one fight today,” Swanson sings. “Let’s pretend/ Nothing’s horrible.” “I know things are not so easy,” Swanson reiterates in the chorus. “You’re my biggest fan, but these seats are cheap.” The song lives in the space between the idealized and reality, the balance between keeping your cool and not being able to put up a front anymore.
Stream the entire album below, and check out our recent Artist To Watch profile on Yohuna.
09/14 Boston, MA @ Middle East (Upstairs)
09/15 Purchase, NY @ SUNY Purchase
09/16 Brooklyn, NY @ The Silent Barn ^
09/17 Sweetwater, NJ @ Sweetwater Dad Motel
09/18 Washington, DC @ Hole In The Sky (afternoon)
09/18 Baltimore, MD @ The Crown (evening)
09/21 New Haven, CT @ BAR
09/22 Northhampton, MA @ 13 Queen
09/25 Providence, RI @ Aurora
10/01 Philadelphia, PA @ All Night Diner
10/05 Minneapolis, MN @ TBA
10/07 Eau Claire, WI @ Vivian
^ Release show w/ Foxes In Fiction, Emily Reo, Long Beard, and Florist’s Emily A. Sprague