The Music Box's #9 album for 2003
First Appeared at The Music Box, October 2003, Volume 10, #10
Written by John Metzger
In taking a brief respite from the Be Good Tanyas, singer/songwriter Trish Klein teamed-up with fellow Vancouver artist Allison Russell to form Po’ Girl, and the duo’s self-titled debut is a doozie. Featuring soul-stirring vocals that overlay gentle, sparse instrumentation, the album is a laid-back, mellow affair that, through every nook and cranny of its existence, exudes the steamy, sweltering summer heat of New Orleans. Its lazy melodies crawl with slow deliberation as acoustic arrangements cling to them like clothes to a sweat-soaked body. Indeed, with its mixture of country, jazz, and blues, Po’ Girl winds up sounding an awful lot like Norah Jones after turning in her glass of Dom Perignon for a bottle of Kentucky bourbon.
Each of the 13 songs on Po’ Girl drifts like a haunted echo from the distant past brought back to life through some strangely surreal back-alley seance. Stuffed within the sultry strains of Bleak St. are snippets of Tom Waits’ Ice Cream Man, and the confectionary concoction congeals delectably around its country, hip-hop groove. Elsewhere, Malaise Days swings sleepily; City Song yearns for something better; Cold Hungry Blues offers a slice of silvery sunlight; and Elizabeth Cotton’s Shake Sugaree is delicately rearranged to become an intoxicating dream. For certain, crafting an album as easy-going as Po’ Girl is no easy matter, but Klein and Russell make it seem otherwise as their voices intertwine to turn this set into something that, like New Orleans, is sweetly seductive, yet full of grit.
Po' Girl is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box