Tica Douglas – Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us

Album Review by Andrew Gordon | 03 May 2017
  • Tica Douglas
Album title: Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us
Artist: Tica Douglas
Label: Team Love Records
Release date: 5 May

The second record from Tica Douglas collects moments and feelings from partway through a journey that might have no end. Over terse acoustic guitar strumming, Douglas' lyrics convey a state of mind that, if not explicitly labelled as mourning or depression, speak to a similar headspace defined by restless nights, persistent self-doubt and the forming of bad habits. While Douglas might feel 'bad at everything these days' at the outset, they also posses a determination that grows stronger as the record progresses. With references to at least three separate deaths in Douglas’ life, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us is a sad record, but it’s also an emphatic, inspiriting testament to the songwriter’s efforts to heal and move forward.

To this effect, Our Lady Star... offers some koan-like words of advice you might want to jot down on flash cards to save for times of need. 'Habits die hard, rituals are real' from Habits + Rituals is an expertly pithy reminder that real change requires conscious effort, but just as sage is 'You always miss something as soon as you’re sure,' which serves as an antidote to the groupthink attitude chided on the politically resonant The Same Thing.

The latter track is a measured piece of observational songwriting that suddenly and spectacularly erupts following the recollection of a family memory, and though its personal significance to Douglas is opaque, the joyful racket of organ and cymbals feels like revelation. It represents the velocity at which moods change, which is the record’s central takeaway. Douglas knows the same darkness which appears in an instant might abide for much longer, and with Our Lady Star... they deliver a similarly enduring lesson in emotional tenacity.

As they sing on Deaths Come in Threes, 'you ask me how long this will last; as long as it takes'.

Listen to: Habits + Rituals, Deaths Come in Threes, The Same Thing