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BettySoo

When We're Gone

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., May 23, 2014

Texas Platters

BettySoo

When We're Gone

Five long years since the release of 2009's Heat Sin Water Skin, BettySoo returns with an emotionally wracked and poignant collection for her fourth LP. The time between has steeled her vision, unlocking tiny transformational moments in her songs that capture the encompassing swell of depression, heartbreak, and torrents of everyday life. The local songwriter's pop sensibilities remain untarnished yet expanded, as on the disjointed rhythm and brooding cello build of opener "Listen." Although "Love Is Real" and "Summertime" burst with brightness, they conceal darker, harrowing tones in the balance of hope and sorrow. BettySoo's vocal versatility marvels throughout, trilling in the swirl of "Last Night" and breathing low despair on "The Things She Left Town With" and "Josephine," a sound shifting between Patty Griffin and Lucinda Williams. Though excavating depths with a cool, observant distance, When We're Gone tears at pain with precision, especially on the brutal "Nothing Heals a Broken Heart." A songwriting leap forward well worth the wait.

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