Before she was Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner fronted the beloved Philadelphia band Little Big League. Their successes were largely collaborative, guitar-forward, and within a certain scene; on Psychopomp, her tale of individual growth and grief told in washy pop tales eclipses all that. The album largely deals with the recent passing of her mother -- moving back home to help her, facing mortality, reeling in the sweet moments of familial embarrassment and how, in times of loss, we’d do anything to have them back. On Psychopomp, Zauner questions faith while finding her own. She writes songs from such dark places that she had no choice but to find a gleaming light. Sonically, the album extends from simple lo-fi effectuation to shoegaze soundscapes, the kind that surround like a hug. This album is surely one of the best of the year, but will prove to be inspiring to those who need it long after 2016 ends.