La Pieta: Inside Out

La Pieta
Inside Out
Contraphonic Music
2006-10-10

La Pieta makes pleasant, literal indie pop with a female vocal and a limited musical appeal. The trio’s style is simple, building off acoustic-strummed guitars, shuffling bass and an unhurried sense of expanded time. Of course, this simplicity can go too far; as on the opening of “Fireflies”, where singer Rachel states “I am happy”. The accompaniment is so sparse that too much emphasis is placed on the vocals, which come off as self-absorbed rather than revelatory. There is a childish quality to her voice that allows her to drop moments of poignancy — “I just called to say goodnight”, say, on “Inside Out” — but too often the choice phrase is repeated too much or turned into a sort of minimal chorus, robbing the words of their emotional value. Occasionally, though, the group hits on an image with great strength: on “The Party”, Rachel sings about a man with a moustache at the party, and it stays on, long after the song’s staid chords have faded.

RATING 4 / 10
PopMatters