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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Zoƫ Nutt

Like You

Review by Gary Hill

Comparisons to Fiona Apple would be appropriate here. This is a very strong release. It's not without problems, though. The main problem is one of sequence and pacing really. There is not a huge difference from song to song in terms of tempo or volume level. When you also add in the importance of the vocal delivery to creating unique experiences, and the fact that there is enough variety to do that, the problem becomes evident. This set is a bit too monolithic. The thing is, the first few songs are all very unique creations. They are different from the bulk of the material presented here, too. I think that by moving some of those songs around, placing them in between tunes that are a  bit too similar, this would be a stronger set. There is not one song that fails as an individual cut. If you listen to your music as singles, everything here is worthwhile. It's when you listen to it as an album that it struggles a little. Better editing and song order would have made this a better release. Even so, it's not something to complain about, really.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Nothing I Can Do

The first section of this is delivered acapella. The vocal style runs somewhere between Celtic and bluesy modern pop music. As the music comes in, it's rather understated and lends some definite country leanings to the piece.

Cry On You

The arrangement here is stark. Yet it has some magical atmosphere to it. That really allows the voice to shine. There is a haunting vibe to that voice. The music works well to support it. In a lot of ways this makes me think of a more organic version of Mazzy Star.

Antique Soda Pop Love
This is a rather bouncy and playful cut. It's very much a folk type piece. I like this one a lot. It's catchy and particularly effective.  
Look the Other Way
Another slow and rather striped back arrangement is heard here. There is a lot of jazz in the mix, really. It's a great tune. In fact, this is one of my favorites for sure.
Like You
There are strange layers of sound built into this. They really create something special. It's odd, but also quite effective. Again I think of Mazzy Star just a bit.
Bones
Percussion starts this. Then some country sounds bordering on bluegrass are added to the mix. This is a cool song that combines folk and country music.
Denial
Starting with a back porch, old school texture, complete with some slide guitar bits, this is another with a lot of folk music built into it.
I'm On Fire
Here we get a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song. I would more call it a deconstruction, reconstruction. I love this cut. I should add that I'm one of a handful of people in the world who think that Springsteen is a good songwriter, but can't stand to listen to him. This is a stripped back and yet trippy arrangement. it works so well turning this into something surreal.
Stay
Here is another that's more purely folk. It's a good tune, but it is a bit samey.
Sweet Tennessee
Energized and a bit bouncy, this number is another that leans along the folk and country border. While the formula is definitely a little thin here, this one manages to stand tall despite that.
Dearest
The closer lands a bit closer to the pop music end of the spectrum. Still, it doesn't completely rid itself of the samey quality. It's a reasonably strong ending cut, though.

 

 

 

 
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