When I read Long Beard’s lyrics, I feel like I’m opening a book of poems. Like this: “If only I could be/ The light you look for in a mirror” (from “Forever”). Or this: “You pass the time on the edge of a roof/ Kicking at the sun for me” (from “Snow Globe”).
Long Beard, the project of New Jersey native Leslie Bear, recently released a new LP, Means to Me, via Double Double Whammy. Means to Me, the second full-length from Long Beard, is an album rooted in place: it was largely informed by Bear’s return to her hometown and all of the mixed emotions that come with that - the mix of both nostalgia and stasis. “I’m driving around mostly/ Trying to feel like I’m getting somewhere/ But when I hear you on the radio/ I feel like I’m nowhere at all,” she sings on the opener, “Countless.”
The sound throughout, whether it’s a more jangly track or one that’s folk-leaning, is dreamy and textured. Bear’s voice is soft, yet fluid and strong. Listening to Means to Me feels like walking down an empty road, freshly covered in snow. It’s like Bear has imbued the sadness of winter with sunlight (Images of light, like the images of returning home, is another motif throughout this album). Or maybe you’ll prefer to think of it this way: if the oncoming winter months are long-lost memories, then this album is a sweater to keep you warm.