Carolyn Berk, singer/songwriter/leader of Portland, Oregon’s Lovers, is emotionally vulnerable. Her resignation is her strength, enabling her to approach failed romance with frankness and a certain defiance. This approach, along with her wounded-yet-mannered singing voice, recalls nothing so much as New Wave-era singer/songwriter Martha Davis. Likewise, the vaguely artful, synth-shaded arrangements on I Am the West is heavily indebted to Davis’ band, the Motels. The album starts strongly, edgy pop songs like “How the Story Ends” and “Let’s Stay Lost” providing an effective backdrop for Berk’s naked, often striking lyrics. As it progresses, though, I Am the West gets bogged down by too many nondescript, midetmpo arrangements and songs about “wrestling horses”. Actually, there’s only one of those, but it’s one too many. Still, this could well make the day of people who would love Rilo Kiley were it not for Jenny Lewis’ “look at me!” causticity.
- Multiple songs MySpace
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.
// Sound Affects
"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.READ the article