Optimistic Apocalypse // The Art of Love
Mckenzie Lee Sprague has created one of the best local albums of the year.
The Art of Love
Optimistic Apocalypse, the brainchild of Erie native Mckenzie Lee Sprague, is more than meets the eye. Where other indie-rockers settle for simple, well-structured songwriting, Sprague's latest release, The Art of Love, feels complete because of how thoroughly it explores its own melodies. Each track is preceded by a minute-long interlude that reverses elements of its base song, creating sonic reflections that end up being some of The Art of Love's most beautiful moments. Indeed, it's Sprague's attention to detail that elevates these songs to something truly special — starting with the backing vocals that haunt opener "The Jelly", the perfect harmonies seem to flow throughout the entire release, connecting each track to its mirror. Sprague's songwriting recalls both Eisley's most angelic moments and the very personal, very grounded lyricism of Julien Baker. While any of these songs could hold their own out of context, I wouldn't recommend it, as The Art of Love is an experience best realized in full. Through Optimistic Apocalypse, Sprague has created not only one of the best local albums of the year, but one of the most unique releases you'll hear all year, period.
— Aaron Mook