Messes, the debut album from Detroit-based DIY singer/songwriter Stef Chura, is both a conversation and the spaces between the words. Raw, real, and honest, this collection of songs lives and dies by Chura’s voice. They carve into your head, deepening like the grooves of a record as Chura’s warble controls both the tempo and the intensity.
The songs collide against each other chaotically at first. Album opener “Slow Motion” feels like the spins — the sound of desperately trying to find solid ground as both regret and insecurity rush over each other. Following this, Chura lets the listener down into “You,” a pained, listless reckoner of a ballad where Chura’s fingerpicking and voice perfectly complement the other in dreamy sadness.
Chura’s buzzy guitar playing and unique singing style mirror the title of the album, and the tracks warp and bungle as they transition into one another. The middle trio of songs form Messes’ thesis: “Spotted Gold” is an eager, restless, indie rock anthem, “Time to Go” holds you close as it breaks your heart, and “Messes” makes itself known only breaking everything around it further, descending into a droning cavalcade of noise and beauty.
Closing track “Speeding Ticket” is a gorgeous call for humanity, both tender in its sound and raw in its approach. “Is it time to feel a real thing?,” Chura croons on the refrain. It’s an honest call from her to the listener for emotional catharsis. Is it time? I certainly think so.
Listen to Stef Chura’s Messes below: