Just in time for the approach of overcast skies and chilly fall weather, indie rock singer-songwriter Julia Laws — or “Ronboy” — released “Pity to Love,” a project full of the musician’s trademark dreamy melancholy.
Ronboy has only previously released singles, so “Pity to Love” is a momentous first-ever feature project for the artist. Laws’ mournful tone underscores the project with a ghostly sadness not unlike current indie rock sensation Phoebe Bridgers. Bridgers’ influence throughout the album is clear as Ronboy bares the depths of her emotions in each song, bringing the listener on a journey into their feelings.
The album starts with “Always,” a slow track accompanied by a driving beat that evokes a mixture of anger and sorrow. Then comes “Forget It,” a track similar to “Always,” but accompanied by an electronic backing score that punctuates the downtrodden piece with staccato bursts of energy.
The ensuing track “Say Too Much” incorporates an upbeat drum cadence, this time allowing its energy to swell to an almost hopeful note before dampening the tone again with the transition to the album’s title track “Pity To Love.” Adding the noir-esque voice of a jazzy electric guitar to the score conjures images of rainy city streets and dark stormy skies.
In “Your Way,” Laws simplifies the score by inviting in a soft piano accompaniment and replacing her electric backing tones. Piano heightens the sorrowful nature of the album as though Laws was performing the piece with her head hung low. Following this is “Oceans of Emotion,” a hot-tempered track that brings back some of the angrier vibes heard earlier in the album.
Tracks “Boogeyman,” “Easy for You” and “Mercy” continue to showcase Laws’ haunting harmonies before the album concludes with “Off the Record.” Closing out the brief album, the piece offers pleasing backing tones and an intense reverb that gives the listener hope that perhaps the sun will peek through the clouds again.
Even in its gloomy depths, “Pity to Love” shines in its eclectic instrumentation and solid production value. While it certainly won't be blasting over the loudspeakers at campus parties, the album presents an opportunity to slow down, have a cry and reflect on the strange, beautiful sadness of the world around us.