Today, Queens-based singer/songwriter Tica Douglas releases their first full-length since 2015, an eleven track collection titled Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us. With a title framed as though we’re begging for protection from that which we have no control over – which, let’s be honest, most people are these days, especially in our current political climate – the album at once begs for you to explore your own thoughts on its subject matters, asks you to let go and accept fate, and positions itself as your next go-to song collection. One thing to note is that this is one insane album to enjoy on vinyl, as the crackles and slight imperfections in sound add character to Tica’s outstanding voice.
The album itself is delicate, with widely acoustic instrumentals that tend to take the back burner to Tica’s insane, light as a feather vocals. From the beginning of “My Friend’s Exes” through the entirety of “Down + Out”, and into “Lost/Left Behind”, Douglas establishes themself as a slow-to-mid-tempo musician, with the pace of each song increasing subtly. “Death Comes in Three” establishes what has become a reality for far too many people, “Habits + Rituals” addresses uncertainty and the guilt that comes with making mistakes (“Stayed up too late doing things that I shouldn’t / Things you don’t like, things I told you I would”), and “Weightless” simplifies and slows the album down even further, in direct contrast six minutes and seven seconds of “The Same Thing”, which displays a deeper vocal range, a radio static intro, and a layering in the instrumental section that is oftentimes avoided in the album.
“Familiar” is driven – perhaps – by its steady, entrancing percussion while “I Won’t Lie” lays it all out for us with lyrics like “I’m not myself on the phone”, a sentiment many people can relate to nowadays. (Can anyone say “social anxiety”?) “It Moves Me” is a standout track for us, though we’re not exactly sure how to explain how or why. It creates an ambiance that moves us, so we’ll stick with that as our “favorite track” defense. And, in true Tica style, they round out the collection with a perfect ending in the track “I Will Be Able”, which – more or less – looks to assert the fact that we all have abilities, though we may not be keen on them at present. It’s a slow, subtle meandering into the silence at the end of the album, allowing you to really take it all in like a big, deep breath.
Tica is holding an album release party at Alphaville on May 11th. Keep up with the music here.