Album Reviews: Optimistic Apocalypse // Above The Land
4.5 stars out of 5
The long-awaited album from artist and musician Mckenzie Sprague has arrived under her moniker Optimistic Apocalypse, her performing alias throughout the last decade. She is accompanied by her longtime rhythm section of Brent Knight on bass and Michael Hibbler II on drums. On Above The Land, you can hear fully fleshed-out compositions from a band that is well-versed in playing Sprague's songs. Her lyrics throughout the album are inspired by nature and self-reflection but delivered like a fortune-teller giving a reading. Standout tracks "The Moon," "10 X 10," "Centipede," and "Flies" weave in and out of psychedelia and folk, with a rhythm section that tidily brings the compositions together. Above The Land combines harmonious vocals (with help from Brooke Surgener and Flo) with nimble jazz drumming, fluid bass playing, ambient guitar sounds, and faint banjo tones, painting from a broader palette of Sprague's artistic imagination. She also designed the artwork for the release, which shares the spirit of her songs with its innocent expression of the mind and soul within nature.