Singer-songwriter Kim Ware has been crafting pensive, atmospheric indie folk with the Good Graces for nearly a decade now, working with a rotating cast of players who have helped provide the crucial details and subtle shading that make the group’s music so expansive. For the Good Graces’ latest record, however, she limited her collaborative efforts to few core members, and the result is some of her most confessional songwriting to date. Thematically, Set Your Sights (out July 7), explores questions of age, identity, and coming to terms with your place in the universe, which is why Ware has taken to calling the upcoming LP as her “midlife crisis” record. “It’s about getting older, regret, feeling bad about things I’ve done in past relationships, and just trying to figure it all out,” she says in a press release. “Making this record, I learned that, sometimes, coming to terms with something means accepting you might never come to terms with it.”
Album opener “Out There” sets the stage for Ware’s existential musings, as the songstress ponders one of humankind’s longest-running inquiries: are we alone in this infinite expanse? Is there anybody (else) out there? Philosophical queries aside, however, the Good Graces have always been at their best when enveloping Ware’s graceful guitar playing and expressive vocals in an ambient mist of lightly textured Americana and drifting folk, and here the group manages to sound both stark and stunningly majestic. Like the question it seeks to address, “Out There” is imbued with a sense of hopeful optimism and wonder, but swim past the natural beauty of Ware’s voice, and there’s a hint of foreboding in the water. When all is said and done, loneliness may just be our lot. What’s important is that we never stop searching and moving forward.
Set Your Sights is out July 7 via Pretty New Songs/Potluck Foundation. Pre-orders are available here.