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Over the past twenty-four months, Angie McMahon has played increasingly larger stages, toured multiple times internationally, and played massive festivals both domestically and overseas (including winning a Grulke Prize for Developing Non-US Act at SXSW); all while quietly putting together her debut album, Salt.

Personal tumult is not an unusual topic for an album, especially by someone in their 20s, but McMahon’s sharp lyrical phrases and outstanding voice are enough to make Salt a fresh and exhilarating debut, similar to the early work of the equally unconventional PJ Harvey. The sad country warmth of “Play the Game” and the starkly fingerpicked front half of “Soon” are soothing in their implied heartache, inviting listeners to lean in and try to untangle McMahon’s lyrics through her downcast delivery. Bruce Springsteen, Lianne La Havas and Big Thief are among McMahon’s numerous influences, sonically reflected in her own brand of heartfelt folk-rock. Much of her sound revolves around the adroit use of dynamics, rendering each track to ebb and flow with McMahon’s forthright lyrics.

This is clearly an album to be absorbed, perhaps alone, as you read the words and let the music wash over you, taking you places few singer-songwriters dare to explore, let alone those on their first albums. The result over repeat listens, if you are willing to engage and get just as vulnerable, is unforgettable. For those who are feeling lost and needing to really listen, Salt will speak loud, and McMahon’s music will remain a steadfast and spectral companion for a very long time.