Baltimore-bred Lauren Lakis began her forays into shoegaze / heavy alt-rock / moody pop in late 2017, when she released the aptly titled “Ferocious,” the song that would be the title track of her debut album.
Weighted by the detritus of a breakup and informed by her time in L.A. bands such as Hobart W Fink, Slow Coda and L.A. Nova, Lakis’ emotional bloodletting made for dark rock theater, and she had more stories to tell on last year’s EP “Sad Girl Breakfast.”
On her new single “Fear of God” — the second from her forthcoming album “Daughter Language” (due this fall) — she paints a foreboding picture of her childhood as she unleashes a percussive and distortion-drenched fusillade against the edifice of organized religion and its patriarchy.
“I attended Catholic school in Baltimore City for my entire life up until college; I participated in all the sacraments, the whole deal,” Lakis says. “My singing career began in church choir, and I experienced my first ever acting role playing the Virgin Mary in our school play. I’ve had a hard time acknowledging what an intrinsic role the church has played in my life, but it’s impossible to deny. I chose Saint Bernadette for my confirmation name, having always been drawn to women with visions, women who are seldom believed.
“I’ve personally always taken issue with the idea of God the almighty Father, having had a father who was absent for most of my life, someone whom I could rarely depend on. I don’t intend to throw my own father under the bus, as we’ve been on a healing journey … but his absence, coupled with the ever-pervasive patriarchal indoctrination inherent to Catholicism, brought about an anger within me that I’m still contending with today. I’ve carried so much resentment toward this imaginary all-loving, all-knowing father figure god, who never protected me as a child, and yet demanded my servitude and blind faith. I felt abandoned by both God the Father and my actual father. Besides my personal experience, the overall hypocrisy, child abuse and ties to colonialism and war are obviously super problematic as well.
“God the Father was a figure I simultaneously turned away from, but from whom I also desperately sought approval. ‘I don’t need you; please love me.’ I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Him.”
The new single, out this week, is the follow-up to June’s dreamier and more lighthearted “We’ll Be Fine.” The video for that single was made in Portland this spring. “I’m fairly certain I was sick with COVID-19 throughout the month of March, and at the tail end of my illness my producer/partner Billy Burke (who I was quarantined with) and I shot it along the trails near our apartment,” Lakis says. “When I’m in the woods, among the trees, I feel that I’m in nature’s domain, I’m not in control anymore. As a city dweller, I’ve lost touch with nature in many ways, and it can sometimes be a foreign, scary place. The woods represented the prison of my own mind, there will never be an escape. This again touches on the opportunity to go inward, to face one’s shadow, and in the video I am running from it, going insane, to eventually emerge back out into the real world. Sometimes it feels like the nightmare will never end, but it does. It ends. This, too, shall pass. We’ll be fine”
||| Stream: “Fear of God”
||| Also: Watch the video for “We’ll Be Fine”
||| Previously: “Ferocious”