I downloaded her online album over a week ago, after largehearted boy said “This talented woman deserves to be heard,” and linked to the verbose Mystical Beast’s review, which calls her album, The Secrets, “the most original and intriguing album of 2005.” I wasn’t going to review it, since all the other blogs already have. It would be redundant. But since I received the gracious e-mail message this week, with a complimentary personal touch, yeah, I’ll say a word.
The two things that first struck me about The Secrets was its intimacy and its range of styles and tone. When I first pop in a CD, I like to listen to the first 20-30 seconds of each track to get an idea of what I’m getting into. After doing the exercise with this album, I knew I was in for a varied and refreshing listen from an uncompromising songwriter. She does growling guitar rock (Show Me (mp3)), ultra-harmonic heartbreak pop (What Love Can Do Without (mp3)), creepy accordion obsession rock (I Try (mp3)), PJ-Harveyesque acoustic aggression (The Secrets(mp3)), even bossa nova (Disappearing Act(mp3)), all with a voice that makes you feel alone in the room with her. So though she runs the musical gamut, it all comes together in a strong singular personality.
And her lyrics are incisive.
From What Love Can Do Without:
We know what love can do without
It grows upon a glance alone
A tired wink, a lean into
An ancient tale that's ever new
The second time is sweeter still
We know what's there and it can tear
As easily as once before
Dead hopes renewed to mock us more
Listen close: From What Love Can Do Without is in iambic tetrameter.
From I Try:
I've been trying to hold my breath
And see black-edged pulses of you
A silhouette with my own heart beat
And nothing more to do
I’ve been trying to tear you out
And there's a ragged edge to everything
Where the sky meets the clouds
And what your words really mean
I've been trying to sing you off my mind
But with each note you rise again...
The imagery of heartbroken obsession.
All this from an unsigned dynamo from Delaware, the No Sales Tax State. The good news is, if you get it now, you don’t pay sales tax either. You can’t charge tax on something that’s temporarily free. Download here.