Hell hath no fury like a songstress scorned. Memphis-bred singer-songwriter and bassist Amy LaVere releases her third album Stranger Me, and delivers a backdrop of lost love and finding one’s way through the rubble.
Amy kicks open the album with “Damn Love song” and lets in a wall of distorted sound, rolling rough drums and a sharp attitude-driven guitar that ushers in Amy’ rough and unique vocals. “Here’s your damn love song/ and don’t it say it all?” Yup. It pretty much does. The instrumentation on this track has “badass” written all over it.
Flirty, witty and upbeat, “You can’t keep me” is another track that displays Amy’s attitude not only through lyrics, but through wailing trumpets, that back the songstress with a fury. On the track “Red Banks”, the guitars are as gritty and bluesy as ever and Amy is as tongue-in-cheek as can be as she plays a deep and haunting bass line. Honestly, who can sing about disposing a body in the river and get away with it ? Leave it to Amy to answer that question.
Elements of raw jazz on “A great divide” are manifested through bluesy guitar and a sassy saxophone solo by Memphis’ Jim Spake. Amy goes through a 3 part story of heartache with gently placed vocals and serene instrumentation on the next three tracks. “Often Happens” takes things down a notch to produce smooth harmonies and simplistic country-driven guitars and drums, and the mood stays steady with sharp staccato strings on the next track “Lucky Boy”. Amy’s vocals stay easy while the backing instruments go on a whimsical ride of their own. “Tricky Heart” rounds out the serene trilogy with the steady heartbeat of drums
The title track “Stranger Me” keeps all instruments busy with scales twists and ends with Amy performing haunting vocal rounds with herself. “Candle Mambo” is another stand out work with its high wailing guitars, and shakes things up a bit with its pace.
“Cry my eyes out” features a playful and youthful xylophone, but is almost overshadowed by the haunting distortion of guitars rolling in the background. The track never picks up pace, and the haunting distortion never fades away. It’s a looming sentiment that doesn’t even seem to shake Amy as she continues to deliver smooth vocals. “Come On” closes out the album with a slow tribute to Amy’s natural country side element, complete with country ridden guitar and old-time accordion.
What’s so unique and impressive about Stranger Me is not only how feisty and meaningful Amy’s lyrics on love and loss are, but also how each backing instrument has the full ability to stand on their own if Amy wished to do so. However, by melting in together the busy sounds with her quick-tempered lyrics, Amy’s molded a crafty and eccentric album laced with layers of gritty and soulful guitars, echoing drums, and haunting melodies. Amy LaVere has everything come together to form an enriching tapestry.
Check out the Track “Lucky Boy” and her live performance of “Red Banks” below!
Stephanie Gomez-Roxy Contributor