Tirzah first came onto the scene about five years back, with a run of truly immaculate dance tracks that were collected mostly on two EPs, 2013’s I’m Not Dancing and 2014’s No Romance. Since the jump, her songwriting project has been a collaboration with childhood friend and composer Mica Levi aka Micachu — they met at a school geared towards young musicians — and that creative partnership continues to thrive on Devotion, her full-length debut.
One of Tirzah’s earliest and best songs suggests that there’s no romance without pain, and Devotion is largely an album about finding love in spite of those obstacles. It’s languidly self-aware and mature. There’s some straight-up love songs, like the gorgeous lead single “Gladly,” which is hymnal in its reverence: “All I want is you/ I love you/ Gladly, gladly, gladly.” And then there are songs which are more mired in self-doubt and insecurity, like “Guilty”: “Did I let you feel the blame when I should have been faithful?” she asks of herself on it.
Whether head-over-heels or second-guessing, Devotion has an enveloping sense of warmth and security, a self-assuredness that comes from accepting that you can’t be self-assured all of the time. Tirzah often sounds like she’s in conversation with herself, stuck inside her own head and playing out all possibilities. Sometimes she goes for a mumbling intimacy, other times her voice cuts through glass.
The songs themselves are staggeringly beautiful — minimal and elegant, elliptical and crisp. Levi crafts tones that you want to live inside, made up of stuttering loops and watery beats and doubled-back vocals. She knows when to step back and let the vocals do the heavy lifting, and she also knows exactly how to punctuate Tirzah’s every move. The dynamic between the two feels entirely natural, everything fits together just so. Devotion is a sort of tight-rope act of intimacy — small stakes that feel infinite.
Listen to the album below.
Devotion is out now via Domino.