Amelia’s records can seem like a bit of a tease. The band (consisting of vocalist/drummer Teisha Helgerson, bassist Jesse Emerson, and guitarist/vocalist Scott Weddle) always features a few especially spry songs that immediately grab your attention, and combine Americana with touches of some vague European sensibility. Ultimately, though, those are distractions from Amelia’s apparent true love: quiet slow-to-midtempo songs that rely on the subtlest of touches to distinguish themselves.
A Long, Lovely List of Repairs follows the same template, kicking off with the slinky vibe and Spanish lyrics of “Enemigo”. That leadoff track is joined in the task of pricking our ears by moments like the Waitsian stomp of “Dolores”, the nimble acoustic melody of “Thick as Thieves”, and the stinging guitar solo that punctuates “Cover the Leak”. The album’s true personality, though, lies in straightforward, sometimes hushed work like “Farewell” and “After You” where touches of violins, piano, clarinet, and other sounds attempt to carry the day. Helgerson’s smoky vocals are always a highlight, but these quieter moments run the risk of sounding the same. As a listener, you get the sense that Amelia could be a lot more distinctive than they’re allowing themselves to be.