Gently bent notes and reverb-heavy acoustic guitar hang thick as humidity on Heat, LéPonds’ 2016 debut, so it’s a fitting soundtrack for warm summer nights. Lisa Houdei is LéPonds’ lyricist, guitarist and voice, and though she occasionally plays with a band, her solo performances reveal the heart of the project: ethereal melodies and intimate, emotional lyrics that show fragments of narrative while shifting others out of view. On the album, the production is subtly layered with synthy pulses, muted percussion and whimsical added harmonies, all of which intensifies and focuses Houdei’s breathy, restrained vocal approach. In “Charmed,” her strongest song to date, she employs an instantly memorable melody to sketch the arc of a romance, from giddy meeting through childbirth to betrayal and separation in less than three minutes. Whether Houdei is live or on record, her declaration, “I’d rather raise my son alone” is enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up.
Recommended if you like: Jessica Pratt, Ingrid Michaelson, Bon Iver, Julie Doiron