While Boston’s Lake Street Dive have always had a soulful, R&B-influenced sound, they’ve boiled it down to a pure, honestly delivered essence on their sixth full-length album, 2018’s heartfelt Free Yourself Up. Having honed their skills studying jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music, the members of Lake Street Dive are supremely talented performers who balance their respective strengths throughout the album. In fact, although she’s often in the background on-stage, bassist Bridget Kearney (who released her own solo album in 2017) is responsible for writing almost half of the album’s songs, and earns co-writes on several more. Many of her compositions display a subtle yet incisive feminist energy that helps lend the band a uniquely personal perspective. On “Good Kisser,” she admonishes an ex-lover who can’t keep from talking to others about their affair, saying “If you’re gonna tell them everything/Tell them I’m a good kisser/Tell them all the things you told me/In your desperate whisper.” Maximizing that powerful female energy is Tennessee-raised lead singer Rachael Price, whose dusky, highly resonant vocals, reminiscent of Dusty Springfield, ground the album with a warm virtuosity. It also doesn’t hurt that Kearney, guitarist Mike Olson, drummer Mike Calabrese, and touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss frame her in earthy, organic arrangements with a tactile, live-in-the-studio feel. To achieve that vibe, the bandmembers helmed the sessions themselves in Nashville with longtime friend and engineer Dan Knobler. It’s a welcome shift from the somewhat buttoned-up, ’60s Wall of Sound approach of 2016’s Side Pony, and brings to mind the windblown ’70s albums of artists like Fleetwood Mac, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Minnie Riperton, and others. The change also seems to reflect the shift in the social and political climate following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. On the cheeky, Lenny Kravitz-esque “Dude,” they say they “used to kick it like Joe and Obama,” and deftly touch upon notions of male privilege and the Me Too movement by asking the question, “Would you like me more if I was a dude?” Similarly, on the Kearney and Price-written ballad “I Can Change,” Price sings with naked poignancy, “Forget that old adage/That history continues to keep us from the world we wanna see…fear won’t rule my heart tonight.” Ultimately, it’s that kind of positive-minded change, both musically and emotionally, that makes Free Yourself Up such a liberating experience.