For a debut album so steeped in promise, the word “never” makes a surprising amount of appearances in Flight Risk’s song titles. This is how Little Warrior works: flipping expectation on its head and sprinkling in extra melancholy.
Flight Risk follows Little Warrior’s EP Lovesick, which aptly introduced the thematic subject matter in the work. This record is full of heartbreak, escape, and finding yourself. It’s an aftermath re-discovery, a story that would almost be inspirational if it wasn’t stabbing you through the heart.
A lot of this has to do with the lyrics. Little Warrior states, “I want to build a home with somebody / you make me feel like nobody” in “Back & Forth”, then pivots in “Never Be Found” to declare “I think I’m better when you’re not around.” In a perfect exploration, both parties are holding power in different moments. The roller coaster continues.
Little Warrior was born and raised in Pittsburgh but now lives in LA, so escape and escapism is nothing new to the artist. The album’s title carries a particular punch as the songs move from futuristic (the chill wave bass-pulse and soprano vocals of “Never Let You Go” are an example) to the more lush and sensual, as on “Sad That I Left”, whose knocking rhythm created real anxiety within a track loaded up with strings. When Little Warrior decides to kick up her edge, as on “Never Do”, she shines. Strange vocal layering creates an alien innovative sense of someone who is fully confident in her different space.
When the closing track — a voicemail recording that almost mirrors the opening track’s TV clip sample in nostalgic tone — arrives, you feel like you have been returned to earth after soaring up into a heavy dose of emotion. This record is a trip, but the kind you want to dance to.