Premiere: Layperson sifts through the wreckage of heartbreak on bruised yet triumphant second album ‘Massive Leaning’

Existing as a trans person in 2023 is itself an act of reclamation, resistance, discovery and—above all—self-acceptance, so it could be said that Portland’s Julian Morris has been well-placed to write a record like this. All these things are cornerstones of the narrative arc surrounding the release of his second album as Layperson.

Massive Leaning is a break-up record, but not limited in scope by its subject matter. Sure, there are moments of crisis (the shock of realisation on ‘Black Pool’), despair (‘Bottom of the Bottom’) and grief (penultimate track ‘My Loneliness Rings Like a Bell’), but also self-examination and resilience (bookends ‘Massive Learning’ and ‘Flickering Shapes’). It’s about taking stock as much as it is anything else, about finding beauty in what remains.

On his new record, the follow-up to 2019 debut The Divide, Morris says: “Loneliness is not necessarily joyless. It’s part of what makes us connected to other people. We get lonely in the way we get hungry or thirsty. … I think it was not a mistake that life presented me with those experiences.” Things don’t always happen for a reason, but they happen all the same, and the album explores how we react, adapt and overcome.

Massive Leaning is out tomorrow on Lung Records and Bud Tapes – file this one next to Hand Habits and Westerman, and stream it up front with us below.

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