(Photo credit: Jonathan Bouknight)

A new year in music means one thing – getting excited about new releases. And while it’s only January, it’s safe to say that Julie Byrne’s upcoming album Not Even Happiness falls squarely into that category (available for pre-order here). Both singles so far feel denser and extra layered with a fuller stretch towards a bigger sound, the natural progression of her excellent previous outing Rooms with Walls and Windows.

“Follow My Voice” is full of guitar chords that cover you. They sporadically creep towards a build before finding a temperance while allowing Byrne’s vocals to stay the main focus. These are vocals that rise from a soft soil, budding in perfect time, as they are in no rush to fully blossom. Byrne’s words offer a firm hand in a situation, giving herself in full for an indeterminate amount of time.

The single’s music is so attentively placed as it parts the sea for a voice that is like the rhythm you might experience while holding your hand out of the window of a moving car. You can close your eyes and feel the breeze as the track winds its way through this road. She sees beauty and hope, but also can’t ignore the painful and unpleasantness as well. Yet there she is, standing as firmly as ever before “Follow My Voice” fades like the glimmer of the sun setting in your sideview mirrors as you continue this drive. Joey Smith