Vagabon isn't here to play. Many an artist has spent years tiptoeing towards a more idiosyncratic world within their music, allowing their audience, and perhaps themselves, grow comfortable with the direction in which they're going; Lætitia Tamko chose to dive in without warning.

Following the deserved attention-getter that was her debut, 2017's Infinite Worlds, it seemed safe to assume she'd spend some time digging into the indie rock sound she'd began there. It'd gotten her a lot of love, after all. Her self-titled sophomore LP, and Nonesuch Records debut, it turns out, does anything but. She's largely left behind the rush of guitars for a textured and dense set of self-produced arrangements. It's at once mournful and consuming.

As you've likely heard, it wasn't always intended to be dubbed Vagabon. Initially known as All the Women in Me, as a tribute to a writer Tamko admires, Nayyirah Waheed, she found herself rapidly changing things around following word reaching her that the writer preferred her words not be used. Respecting these wishes, we've ultimately received Vagabon, but the words of the original title loom over the project as a clear inspiration for its deeply felt, meaningful songwriting.

It wasn't initially easy going. Tamko was, of course, proud of Infinite Worlds and its success, but she had never imagined it'd reach such a wide audience. Some part of her felt, surely, that the world at large had discovered her in an exploratory genesis. This feeling left her with a nasty case of writer's block for some time, until her determination to grow sprung her free.

“With this album, I wanted to impress myself,” Tamko explains. Delving into new sounds was, in part, simply a challenge to herself. It was also borne of necessity, at least at first. While relentlessly touring her debut, all she had at her disposal for long drives on the road, was her computer. It was only natural she'd begin to learn to express herself via electronic means.

As the LP's original title reflected, Tamko didn't focus her writing on any specific concept or mood, instead pulling from every side of herself. This allows for an album both intimate and diverse, offering the listener a wide array of shades and feelings to dig into.

The closing of 'In a Bind' verges on gospel-like with its strong chorus of voices enriching her pain and disappointment. The likes of 'Water Me Down' beckon in the listener with warm, playful synths, belying the intensity of Tamko's insights and emotive vocal power. It all reaches its emotional peak with the beleaguered, gracefully devastating 'Every Woman', one of the finest songs Tamko has yet written.

One thing does pervade the overall nature of Vagabon: a sense of a safety, or at least a desire for it. Wherever our days take us, however far we may travel from our birthplace, each of us are endlessly searching for a sense of belonging. For that feeling of opening the door and being at home; not in any literal sense, for not every place of shelter is home. That sense of security is fleeting, and we find it where we may. We can only hope we stumble into the right community for us. Across her new album, Vagabon is clearly searching, and she's managed to create something of a shelter for all of us within her new work. It's difficult to listen to Vagabon and not feel at home.