If 2015’s Welcome Back To Milk debut for Beth Jeans Houghton as Du Blonde appeared at all like a campy one-off spin away from Houghton’s folkish beginnings, Lung Bread For Daddy insists – nay, demands – that this mascara-etched glam show is Very. Fucking. Serious.
Welcome Back To Milk displayed a wide range of stylistic variations on the glam rock theme, nailed down with deadly wit and enough self-seriousness to all the excess to transcend it safely above parody and even derivation. If it was a circus, Lung Bread For Daddy’s show lights are long extinguished and the big top tent seems a hell of a lot smaller and more smothering in the dark.
Written at a recent low point in her life, Houghton peels away much of the arrangement décor from her prior outing, laying her songs largely bare before us. An overriding factor in the album’s presentation wasn’t so much aesthetic as practical; Houghton learned multiple instruments and the production process in order to create the record singlehandedly.
Impressively enough, Lung Bread For Daddy’s pare-down from its predecessor sacrifices nary any of its glam accents and throws Houghton’s primal lyrical wit in even sharper relief. “Coffee Machine”'s sequined, roaring outro could easily stack alongside any prior outing, if not dwarf it in the process, while “RBY”'s prog-indebted solo unfurls streamers from the arena rafters.
Yet, for any of the blatant in-your-face moments found on the album, Houghton delivers more through simplicity and subtlety, such as “Holiday Resort”'s unaccompanied distorted strum or closer “On The Road”'s desolate finger-picking. Make no mistake, Houghton’s sense of despair and unrequited yearning are just as inescapable in these moments, perhaps even more so. Tying it all up with a thematically claustrophobic bow are Houghton’s lyrics – blunt, lonely, and darkly witty references to pulling pubic hairs out of a bathing suit on a solitary vacation, pretending to enjoy a long-expired booty call just to hear an ex’s voice, and her brutally crude characterization of naked body parts as “Peach Meat”.
Lung Bread For Daddy’s inauspicious genesis plunged Beth Jeans Houghton deep into an artistic quagmire, yet she has escaped with another outstanding record.