Americana duo the Lied-To's' sophomore album is a darkly compelling dive into the realities that they've faced as single parents.
Few albums start off as ornery as the Lied-To's latest does, but they sure know how to make irateness sound good. The driving force behind The Lesser of Two Evils' jangly opener, "Cruel World", is exactly what its name implies. Singer-songwriters Susan Levine and Doug Kwartler took their cues from two influences—being fed up with the world and its many cruel facets, and the trademark attitude of Johnny Cash. With a release date just around the corner (11 May), the Americana duo is venting out life's frustrations with flair in the dark and all-too-relatable stylings of their latest full-length album.
Predating The Lesser of Two Evils, both members of the Lied-To's withstood bitter divorces, dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial results that came with them. Levine and Kwartler met a folk festival not long after, beginning to collaborate sometime after the dust of their recent turmoils had settled. As single parents to two children each, multitasking to keep their family life, music, and relationship boats afloat is as much an inspiration for their songwriting as it can be a true test of endurance.
Kwartler says in a press release, "You work, pay bills, take care of your kids, have a relationship, and deal with your past… Oh, and we also try to make music. The new record covers all that."
Levine follows this up by saying, "While the songs are not purely autobiographical, the emotional truths definitely come from everything we've been through."
Captivating in both its music and the themes that come with it, the duo's sophomore effort is an even deeper dive into their personal worlds. Influenced by some of the finest songwriters and poets to come from out of folk and country movements, the Lied-To's certainly know how to weave a dark tale in a way that still entrances.
Yet, in knowing that these songs are written with their primary inspiration having been Levine and Kwartler's own lives and the struggles that they survive on a daily basis, the bravery that they set forth with creating this record is even more enthralling. For every darkness, there is a silver lining, and oftentimes it begins with letting it all out. The Lied-To's remind us of this on The Lesser of Two Evils. Its darker themes tend to heal in more ways than one upon realizing this reminder—one that keeps us mindful of what we still have to mutually embrace and fight for in the face of adversity.
The Lesser of Two Evils can be pre-ordered via PledgeMusic.