Single Review: Tallulah Guard – ‘Pressing on a Bruise’.

So let’s start ’23 with some backdated sweetness from a track that’s crept up on repeat. It featured on last year’s ROTR playlist and now it’s something of a sugar-spun regular. Tallulah just has that whole-earnest most-open something that makes its own welcome home and beds in. With a cool studied eye for alt-folk Americana, it’s a fine sound to settle down into.

Every syllable sung and their tightly timed ramp ups from softly spoke voice through to holler seem entirely gut-made and self-owned. Every lilt and each micro aggression sounds like both theirs and ours all at once. And that’s what makes the whole thing so damn lovable. The long-time country staples and parables of pain, of time healing wounds and their bruises, it’s a diet just as old as Hank Williams. In the wrong hands they fold like cold fodder, but here they stay heartfelt and relevant.

It’s not as rootsy as Holly Golightly, not as clean as Jenny Kern’s dusk-lit pop. It’s not as gritted or grungy or as crass or as saccharine as Sheryl Crow takes it in turns to be, and it’s more free than the taught Billy Nomates. Instead it carves its own road through the middle of all and commands its own lush lonely place.

We’re just two singles in and the metaphors are settling. And amongst them, a fine voice is finding its feet in a hunt for a centre and soul. I almost hope that it never quite settles. We get the sense that the worth’s in the journey. It seems good things take time with two singles in two years, so let’s hope more comes out while they’re searching.