Singer-songwriter Allie Crow Buckley’s Utopian Fantasy aims to lead listeners on a walk through the forest. This latest LP is her third body of work that Buckley released over the last few years and, like her previous projects, is deeply rooted within the elements.
“For me, So Romantic represents water and Moonlit and Devious is Earth,” Buckley explained in our conversation with her. “Utopian Fantasy feels very much like air, so I feel sort of airy and excited about it.”
Utopian Fantasy is extra special to Buckley since she will be able to properly tour and perform her songs for an audience, which she wasn’t able to do over the past few years. “Getting to perform these songs is one of my favorite things to do and I’m really looking forward to getting the human connection and reactions to the performances.”
Inspired by Joni Mitchell, Buckley specifically cites Mitchell’s music from the 80s and 90s as a point of inspiration for the approach to her own music. “She creates worlds within her records, which is one of my favorite things and that’s something I strive to do in making my records,” she said. “When you listen to a Joni Mitchell record, you are in her sphere completely which I think is so wonderful.”
Unlike her last two projects, recording Utopian Fantasy was a slower process that started back in 2021, in a mossy cottage in the English countryside. Buckley explained that she mainly collaborated with producing partner Jason Boesel on this LP and that the tonality, the songs, and the visuals came together all at once and were influenced by the environment she worked in. Through this, they captured the essence of the songs as they came together.
“The last two projects were both recorded live to tape. But this time, it was wonderful because we had this portable recording rig so in some ways, it was like field recordings because we were able to capture the magic of each place in each moment and record the songs when they were very fresh.”
While most of the LP drew inspiration from the forest, the latest single “Cowboy in London” is directly inspired by the bustling city and her youth. Lyrics like “My rhinestones were fading In a Kensington basement / Up all night dancing two step to Led Zeppelin / I could be a cowboy in London / Think I could play the part” describe the memories of her first time in London and falling in love with the city. In the press release for the single, Buckley explained that “The song is a reflection on my years as a teen and being on my own in London for the first time. It was wonderful and terrifying, and I was totally enthralled.”
Along with her love of London and the English countryside, mythology also served as a through line for her creativity, which she also previously referenced in her other projects as well.
“For this record. I was very into the Dionysian mysteries, as well as the myth of Cupid and Psyche,” she recalled. “I was very much interested in that particular myth since Psyche is put into this brand new situation, a sort of alternate reality that seems wonderful and magical. She’s in a sort of purgatory, which I felt described how it felt re-entering the world after just being cocooned in the English countryside for months.”
For Buckley, one of the biggest takeaways in making Utopian Fantasy was trusting herself in the process. Through that trust, she was able to experiment with other tracks on the LP, like “Greatest Hits,” which was written as a stream of consciousness, and “Five-Pointed Star,” which was written and recorded at the same time, capturing the magic of that moment.
“If something’s not right, I learned to be okay with completely starting over and just completely trusting my vision,” she reflected. “I also learned to be okay with the back and forth and let go of the need to make something exactly correct in the first try.”
Utopian Fantasy is now available across all streaming platforms.