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Kait Lawson

Until We Drown

(Madjack; US: 30 Oct 2012; UK: 12 Nov 2012)

Soulful debut from sweet-voiced Tenesseean

Memphis, Tenessee’s Kait Lawson ploughs a folkie-country furrow familiar in its contours, instrumentation and thematic concerns, but her sweet voice and ear for melody help propel her somewhat ahead of the pack. That melody is most apparent in “Take Your Charge” and “Until We Drown”, incidentally the first and last songs on the album. Both tunes allow Lawson’s effortlessly wistful warble to take center stage, providing just enough sonic texture to keep things lively.


On the more rocking edge of the spectrum, “Spin me Around” utilizes distorted-guitar crunch to create a kind of electric folk reminiscent of Neil Young—no small compliment, that—while “Place in the Ground” surfs a satisfyingly peppy wave of guitars, percussion and—who knew?—clarinet. Lawson tends to be less interesting as when she grows more minimal, as on the downtempo ballad “You Lie in Lies” or the lethargic creep of “I Suppose”. Fortunately, such missteps are few, and Until We Drown proves to be a robust, almost sneakily engaging debut.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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