On her fourth album, Maria Apetri, better known as Fallulah, sounds more personal than ever. It’s a logical follow-up to her previous album “Perfect Tense”, which came out in 2016 and already showed an artistic progress over her first two amazing LPs. On “All My Eyes Are Open”, Apetri’s songwriting and vocals really shine through. They are carried even higher thanks to the balanced production that meanders neatly through various musical styles.
The opener “Bloodline” is a pulsating, uptempo song with a bittersweet melody which sets the tone for the album. The song sounds fit for radio on the first listen, but its lyrics are more personal than what is usually embraced by the general public. “I have my father’s mind, I got his OCD” is indeed a bold statement to open an album with. Fallulah describes how her family and ancestors run through her blood, both literally and figuratively.
The three songs that follow share the same introspective feeling but have a more understated approach. I remember Fallulah for her upbeat and slightly theatrical and maximalist performance à la Florence Welch, but this time the songs are rather subdued. “Dysfunctional” is a piano ballad about a toxic relationship, “All My Daydreams” is a soothing folky song, while in “Sunsets”, Fallulah wants to hold on to her dearest moments. The latter ends with a clever key change, which I certainly didn’t expect!
“God Bless You” and “Scared of Love” sound reminiscent of her debut “The Black Cat Neighbourhood” with their uptempo beats and hook-laden happy vibe. “Broken Soldier” is an earworm that starts with a slow synth arpeggio and ends with the sounds of a Balkan beat. “Paper Routes (Hurts to Be Loud)”, carried by synth and piano, is one of the most personal moments on the album. The short interlude “Please Don’t Move to LA” could’ve been expanded to a full song, especially on an album with a runtime of 31 minutes. The interlude of only 45 seconds feels cut off way too quickly, but at least we have nine full songs to enjoy!
“Don’t Die With Your Dreams” closes the album with a nostalgic tone that is exacerbated by the guitar solo and backing choir. It’s the most gorgeous moment on the LP, perhaps Fallulah’s best song yet. The tune reminds the listener of their dreams and the importance of following those instead of letting them slip until death. It also highlights one of the key motifs of the album — dreams in the broadest sense of the word. Shortly before the record’s release, Fallulah’s most devoted fans were surprised with a beautiful live rendition of “Don’t Die With Your Dreams” that was recorded in a church.