“Oh please, don’t make fun of me … ” 21-year-old Lucy Dacus sings on “Map on a Wall,” a standout track from her debut album, No Burden, before she goes on to detail what some could consider her aesthetic faults: “… Of my crooked smile, of my crowded teeth, of my pigeon feet, of my wobbly knees.” Though plainly self-deprecating, there’s an air of confidence in the way the Virginia native sings about everything from not wanting to be teased to blushing in the face of a new crush.
Unlike similarly minded peer and onetime tour mate Julien Baker, whose voice hits hardest when it’s nearly cracking as she sings self-lacerating lyrics, Dacus has a detached, smoky alto and full band that lend an almost breezy quality to No Burden’s introspective set of songs. Dacus’s fussless poise mirrors her songwriting process, which she describes as unintentional: All of the songs on No Burden were written as she collected her thoughts while taking a walk.
“Writing has never been an intentional endeavor to me,” Dacus, Matador Records’s newest signee, told Vulture. “I know a lot of people have experiences and then sit down and try to sort them out through song, but whenever I sit down to write, it comes out hackneyed or overly saccharine.” Instead, the right words tend to come when Dacus lets her mind wander. As evidenced by the tour video for Dacus’s single “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” premiering today on Vulture, she and her band have been enjoying the constant excitement that comes with traveling the country while playing music. And, luckily, being on tour doesn’t preclude Dacus from getting her creative juices flowing while taking a walk.