Music Review: Japanese Breakfast finds beauty in bereavement with ‘Psychopomp’

A lo-fi pop chronicling of love, loss and longing. 

No one who knew of singer/guitarist Michelle Zauner faulted her when she put her Philadelphia-based indie-rock band Little Big League on hiatus and returned home to Oregon after discovering her mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

Nor would anyone have been surprised had Zauner put down her guitar for the foreseeable future as she coped with the emotions of losing a mother and having to care for her widowed father.

However, Zauner discovered inspiration in sorrow. After gestating her grief over the course of a year, Zauner has now birthed one of the most beautiful and life-affirming albums in recent memory – Psychopomp.

Working in collaboration with musician Ned Eisenberg, Japanese Breakfast may not be as hard-hitting sonically as Little Big League, but lyrically and thematically, it’s more vulnerable and intense than anything Zauner has created before.

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