Album Review: This Moment by Arden Lloyd

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Arden Lloyd addresses restlessness and longing with a soothing folk-pop sound on her first EP, This Moment.

When the first track of This Moment by Arden Lloyd started playing, I thought I mistakenly pressed a classical music playlist on my phone. The piano that begins “An Intro” is just what I listen to as I cozy up with a new book or just need to take a minute for myself. Instead, it was an enchantingly calm song that set the tone of Lloyd’s first EP. 

Lloyd wanted her album to be entirely her own and entirely acoustic. She wrote the lyrics  and guitar lines, and originally wrote the drum beats on MIDI drums before having drummer Garret Salazar record them for her songs. Through this, Lloyd managed to create a sound entirely her own–a sound that brings a definitive sense of peace in this time of complete uncertainty. 

The EP, six tracks released in November, addresses her longing to escape past experiences and the bittersweet moments in her relationships. Lloyd was greatly influenced by the forests, mountains, and farms that surrounded her hometown of Amherst.

In line with artists like Taylor Swift and Aaron Dressner, Lloyd used the pandemic as an opportunity to explore her creativity. “I was fortunate that quarantine allowed the time and space for my creativity to flow, and I started writing more than I was ever able to before,” Lloyd said in her album statement. That creativity is reflected in the introspective and poetic lyrics that abound This Moment. In “Complementary Colors,” Lloyd muses on the serenity of nature  compared to her lover’s gaze: “the dragonflies harmonize as your eyes softly observe.” She paints a picture of her conversation with lyrics like “a golden hue washes over you / and turns your lilac shirt brown / with the colors confused / it’s easy to amuse your imagination.” Lloyd uses the mixture of colors to parallel the mixing and confusing emotions the pair feel toward each other. 

Lloyd’s unique voice adds to the mellow nature of the EP. Her tone is soothing and perfectly complementary to the music. This is especially prevalent in “Ticket (to take me away),” where Lloyd sings: “though I try I can’t seem to ease my mind,” but the song does just that. Her voice and the folksy guitar combine for the peaceful storytelling of the EP, similar to that of a lullaby. The lyrics, in contrast, convey feelings of restlessness in “Cause I know I won’t forget / But I bought myself a ticket to take me away nonetheless.” It is a testament to Lloyd’s musical abilities to make a song about an uneasy mind and indecision sound relaxing. 

With “Passing Through the Station,” the EP diverges from the mellowness of the rest of the songs to a more upbeat tempo. The change comes from a rapid drum beat underlying the entire song. The drum beat’s urgency coincides with the lyrics “ticking little clocks just count the minutes / they don’t tell me what to say.” The drums match the ticking of the clock as well as Lloyd’s increasing vulnerability, bringing the listener in to share that sense of uneasiness. 

Lloyd jumped full force into the calm, folksy pop-rock that we needed during the pandemic. With her angelic voice and music, Lloyd reminds us of a calmness that occurred before, and that will prevail after the storm. Like she said in her album statement, “Have patience and allow the stories to unfold, both in the music and in life.”

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