Have you ever been so in love that you had to leave? Bathing Peach, the debut album from Chicago singer-songwriter V.V. Lightbody, effortlessly confronts the shifting tides of a relationship, taking solace in gentle songs layered with flute melodies and lyrics about dried fruit. The intimate LP is the latest project from Vivian McConnell, who also performs with Chicago bands Santah and Grandkids. After a few months spent abroad in Spain and her infatuation to Brazilian music, McConnell was inspired to create a dreamy new genre she calls “nap-rock” and to assume the moniker of V.V. Lightbody—the name of her piano-playing grandmother.
Collecting songs that McConnell felt were too delicate to be played by her other bands, Bathing Peach began in 2015 as a living room recording project with pianist and producer Daniel Pierson. Each song began with a simple guitar and vocal arrangement, but as Pierson’s home studio grew, the duo invited local musicians to flesh out the tracks. The ocean-like tunes on Bathing Peach combine the vivid lyricism of Joni Mitchell with the jazz-inflected chords of Sam Prekop’s early solo records. Unanchored in a sea of glitching mermaids, V.V. Lightbody is a surreal reflection of McConnell’s experiences and influences that coalesce into an intimate narrative of self-discovery.
V.V. Lightbody’s live lineup includes McConnell and a varying cast of Chicago musicians, including Daniel Pierson (keys), Matt Carroll (drums), Michael Harmon (bass), Evan Metz (guitar), Emma Hospelhorn (flute) and Wills McKenna (flute).