Emily Wolfe

Mechanical Hands

Texas Platters

Emily Wolfe

Mechanical Hands

Emily Wolfe's first installment of a two-EP debut introduces the 23-year-old Austin singer/guitarist/fireball with musical muscle and uninhibited joie de vivre. Despite the upbeat tempo of the opening title track, it layers on the melody in trained prudence. By the chorus, however, the song's full-on decadence, with the whimsy of a synth figure rooted by her growling axe work. "Rabbit Cage" rides the sky-high waves of its predecessor, while jungle drums bust open "Howl," where Wolfe's echoing "ahhs" and major chords emulate a Southern-twanged Vampire Weekend. Both "Lion Heart" and "Shadow Boxes" briefly scale back the disc's up-tempo before tearing off into the distance, but Wolfe saves her slow burn for "White Collar Whiskey." If the closer's blues guitar previews her promises of a darker half to the follow-up EP, then Emily Wolfe's about to break out. Big time.

***.5

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