Lissie - Back To Forever

In the best possible way, Lissie sounds a bit like those hairbrush-microphone renditions in front of mirrors.

Label: Columbia

Rating: 6

Imagine Dolly Parton directing a high-budget action movie, featuring Imogen Heap, Lissie, and Shania Twain as Dolly’s Angels. Damien Rice appears as the ‘Q’ character, on hand to suggest handy chord combinations and lyrics steeped in subtle cliche in times of crisis. Birdy is the villain, running round Nashville stealing country-western songs and turning them into mechanical pop smash hits. The three plucky angels must put a stop to this, in the space of 53 minutes and a Twinings Tea advertising deal. Lissie’s ‘Back To Forever’ is that film’s hypothetical soundtrack.

There’s a consistent sense of déjà vu that accompanies every melody, a pleasant sense of cosy familiarity, but also a like-ability running throughout. All things considered, ‘Back To Forever’ isn’t half bad. In the best possible way, Lissie sounds a bit like those hairbrush-microphone renditions in front of mirrors. She’s the music of daring stage dives reenacted in bedrooms everywhere throughout the nineties.

‘Shameless’ is particularly good fun, and Lissie’s sassy “fuck you” take on fame goes down a treat. “So take a shot for free/ And photoshop the bits of me that you don’t want/ I’ll steal your magazine,” she yells, just gritty and sarcastic enough to hold your attention, but still maintaining a super-pop sheen.

There are a couple of especially breathy ballads with a soaring half-time chorus. “Take me back to forever”, she husks, over moody, plunking piano. It’s little bit annoying to be honest; as everyday listening, anyway. ‘Back To Forever’ and ‘Love In The City’, though, were almost written to soundtrack a post-break-up scene on The OC, panning slowly round Seth’s rain-speckled glass outhouse as he sobs because Summer dumped him again, or something.

The expression ‘guilty pleasure’ fits ‘Back To Forever, but maybe that isn’t entirely fair. Sure, she sounds uncannily like Avril Lavigne turned country-pop, but as somebody who voluntarily wore checkered sweatbands in early adolescence as a homage to ‘Complicated’, this album is like kryptonite.