Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You (CD)

Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You / 2006 Anti / 12 Tracks / http://www.jolieholland.com / http://www.anti.com / Reviewed 07 June 2006

To say that Holland’s vocals are not bizarre is to lie to one’s self. There is an interesting way that Holland chews eir vocals during “Crush in the Ghetto”. Most of the vocals are unaffected, but at the end of each line there seems to be this curiosity. Individuals can get used to the style quickly, but for the uninitiated, it will keep listeners from enjoying the first track on the disc.

This lack of comfort is something that will dissipate quickly as individuals listen on, as the very Beatles-like tempo of “Mehitibells Blues” will take listeners to a realm in which trip-hop never truly died. The style of Holland’s vocals during the track also pull upon the first album of Nelly Furtado’s music, in the scene that the vocals are quaint at the same time as being compelling. When there are a second set of vocals during “Springtime Can Kill You”, the result is not quite as disconnected but in reality enjoys something that resembles a drinking song more than anything. Individuals can tune into “You’re Not Satisfied”, for the morose and slow song, a drinking song that is done at the last call as individuals try to grip onto their seats.

The chewing on vocals takes a whole new level of prevalence for “Stubborn Beast”. The track is made the more odd when one considers the fact tthat “Stubborn Beast” is a track that is dominated by a classic country style. I’m not necessarily sure how well this works for Holland, as the slide guitar works, the pacing works, but the stretched-out vocals throw a monkey wrench into the gears of the track. The slower tempo comes back during “Don’t Tell ‘Em”, and shows a tension between the vocal style of Holland and the instrumentation of the rest of the backing band. When the tempo is quicker, the CD succeeds without much in the way of problems. As it is right now, the chance to hear Holland’s vocals stretched out further means that individuals can then dissect Holland completely, and the results are not necessarily all the impressive. The supposed-sultry vocals of tracks like “Moonshiner” just are lost by the oddness of the vocal inflection. The instrumentation is fine, and fun at some points but Holland’s vocals are too much of a curiosity to really make this disc soar. Give this disc a chance only if you are a fan of Holland eirself; here’s to hoping the next album is a little more strong.

Top Tracks: Mehitibells Blues, Stubborn Beast

Rating: 4.5/10

[JMcQ]

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