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It’s been thirteen years since her last studio album, ‘Late December’, which was released in 2007. ‘La Vita Nuova’ is a homage to Dante’s opus on unrequited love.
La Vita Nuova (The New Life), releasing on Fire Records, comprises 14 songs and, apparently, a whole lotta change. The press release reveals an artist who is well aware that it might seem like she just disappeared for a long time, and leans into that narrative. “Maria McKee was recast; reborn.” Thankfully, the invitation has been extended to celebrate that rebirth with Maria. Lead single “Effigy of Salt” is…gorgeous. Listen. It’s gorgeous. The depth of melancholy complements the height of musicality, taking an alchemical hand to Desire-esque Americana, film score Neoclassical, and Doo-wop. The personal, relational nature of La Vita Nuova is on full display here; even as Maria McKee says ‘hello again’ to the listener, this is a song cycle of goodbyes. Goodbye to not being out as queer, to not pursuing studies as a practitioner of the occult, to not being herself, now. “You say goodbye/I say hello.”