The very best albums, in my opinion, are the ones where artists lay their souls bare. Where they strip back all the artifice and leave themselves exposed and vulnerable. It’s rare to hear music that’s as raw as all that, but that’s just what we get on One For Sorry, Two For Joy, the stunning new album from London-based Aussie Brightly.

Brightly recorded the songs in an isolated cabin in Iceland during a harsh winter. I liked thinking about that background as I listened to the music, because the ice and snow seems so perfectly suited to these tracks. They have such a lush sound, with synths that wrap around Brightly haunting voice.

However rich the music is though, it never steals focus from the lyrics which are the true centrepiece of this album. I enjoyed listening to each song after reading the information about them Brightly penned for ToneDeaf last month. I found learning the background of each number made the listening experience that much more powerful.

“Rugby” contains some of the rawest, most honest lyrics I’ve ever heard, delivered in the way that only someone who’s lived the story can. The title track “One For Sorrow, Two For Joy (Beginnings & Endings)” is like a sucker punch. This poignant number deals with the death of a close friend after a music festival. Brightly originally wrote the song 10 years ago and has been tweaking it ever since to make sure it sounds just right. “Bury Us In Fruit Jars” was another song that really floored me. It tells the story of an arson attack at a gay bar in Los Angeles in 1973 and is especially powerful in the wake of the Orlando shooting at Pulse. “Oceans,” one of the lighter numbers on the album, is truly uplifting.

This album has so much heart. Its themes of death and loss are dealt with so thoughtfully. It’s intimate and vulnerable and everything the best albums should be.

One For Sorry, Two for Joy is available for digital download now. If you’re in London, you can catch Brightly launching it at The Social on July 15. Hopefully it won’t be too long before he’s back on home soil and we get some local shows.