Qobuzissime for Naarm singer-songwriter Angie McMahon’s touching sophomore album. A triumphant return from one of Australia’s finest.

Life is hard, and over the past four years Angie McMahon has been brewing over some of modern life’s biggest battles. Learning to accept that things end, that the world is burning, that we live constrained by the stressors of late-stage capitalism, and the seemingly never-ending journey of learning to accept ourselves for who we are—despite the shit-storm that is constantly swirling around us—are revelations all easier said than done. On her sophomore album Light, Dark, Light Again, McMahon isn’t afraid to share the nuanced revelations she’s had during her hiatus, translating the thoughts of many into her raw and soulful music.

Angie McMahon - Light, Dark, Light Again (Official Album Trailer)

Angie McMahon

“Baby I forgive ya/ Angel in the mirror/ Here we are now that you quit being a quitter” opens first track “Saturn Returning,” a fitting beginning to the album. (The Saturn return, an astrological transit, signals great life changes and emotional and spiritual growth for a person.) Whilst her debut Salt felt very direct and dynamic, Light, Dark, Light Again feels vulnerable and soft, like McMahon has woven an intimate space around us to peer into her wounds together.

Written between Melbourne / Naarm, regional Victoria and Durham, North Carolina, there is a sense of expansiveness to tracks like “Letting Go,” “Mother Nature” and “I Am Already Enough”— the kind of songs you want to scream from the top of a hillside. Other tracks, however, like “Divine Fault Line,” provide insight into those moments of darkness, sharing how to navigate it and eventually find light. “You’re on your own darkside of the border tonight/ And you’re all fucked up and you’re wanting to die/ That’s the place where the breaking out begins,” yearns McMahon’s angelic voice during the chorus.

Every lyric and detail here is deeply considered: the production elements, the use of multi-tracked or single vocals, the sounds of birds and nature. They all contribute to the feeling of experiencing something truly special—an artist tugging away at the layers around their soul and exposing their wounds in the hope that we may take something away at the end of it all, if we are lucky enough as listeners.

Light, Dark, Light Again isn’t just about McMahon’s experience, it is about the human experience. The constant push and pull between dark and light, the moments of peace and the other moments of pure chaos–the yin in the yang and the yang in the yin. There is life and there is death, but from death comes life again … from the darkness comes light again. “Out of ash and destruction, the ground will grow things.”