Since moving to Nashville to start their music career in 2012, Becca Mancari has been lauded for their dextrous songwriting and prodigious guitar playing. Their sophomore album The Greatest Part, released in 2020, was an indie rock opus that garnered acclaim from The New York Times, NPR, and more. After its release, however, Mancari was despairing. An illness in their family, coupled with a realization that their alcohol dependency had become untenable, led Mancari to begin the hard work of taking ownership of their existence by mending broken relationships and investing in their mental health. “I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, I was a passenger in my own life,” Mancari says. The transformative period of self-reckoning was the catalyst that ultimately steered Mancari to write and produce their triumphant new album, Left Hand.
While Left Hand came out of a dark period in Mancari’s life, the album is anything but. Wide-open and welcoming, the music beckons all listeners, encouraging community among strangers. On the album, Mancari asserts a radical self-acceptance. The propulsive track “It’s Too Late” binds this new album to the hypnotic rhythms of The Greatest Part, and while the lyrics chronicle personal tragedy (“I almost drove off the road that night/ Did you know I almost did it so many times?”) the bass-driven groove is undeniable, luring us deeper into the album. The bold admission is but one example of the intimacy experienced throughout the record, suggesting that music, too, has been a part of their growth and healing expedition
Left Hand is generous in this way; Mancari offers the listener a collection of songs that should be played in moments when we are in need of reassurance and encouragement. No song exemplifies this better than the ebullient track “Over and Over,” which is a reminder to friends that happiness doesn’t need to be fleeting. “I wanted to write a queer pop song that has meat on its bones,” they say. Inspired by one of many reckless and joyful hangs with dear friends in Nashville, the enlivening pop song makes a promise to them, and to the greater community Mancari embraces on this album. “There is something to the feeling/ Head hanging out of the window/ Being ok that we don’t know,” sung on the chorus over a beat replete with congas and shakers. What follows is a promise to anyone who ever feels like the greatest moments of their life are disappearing in the rearview: “We can have it like we used to, over and over and over and over again.”