Nedelle

From the Lion's Mouth (Kill Rock Stars)

SXSW Records

Nedelle

From the Lion's Mouth (Kill Rock Stars)

It's the voice that gets you. While Bay area singer-songwriter Nedelle's songs are fleeting impressions rather than fully formed statements, her distinctive, disciplined voice pulls you in anyway. Her gift is evoking sweetness without cloying and sadness without bathos. Most of the songs on From the Lion's Mouth are sparse affairs, occasionally accentuated by string arrangements or deftly overdubbed harmony vocals. The latter comes off swimmingly on "The Natural Night," sounding like the traveling girls' singing group Albert Finney snatches Audrey Hepburn from in Two for the Road. With its lounge pop and clever wordplay connecting love to loss, "Good Grief" is the obvious pick hit here. "World Warrior" continues in this vein with the memorable lyric "Something tells me all the other wars can't be nearly glamorous as ours." "Oh No!" quaintly reconstructs the wall of sound in a shoebox apartment with Japanese shoji screens, while Nedelle's take on Ronnie Spector is undercut with the omnipresent sadness of Karen Carpenter. With more songs like this, From the Lion's Mouth could've been a much stronger statement. As it is, odd sequencing and too many solo acoustic guitar performances conspire to stall the album's momentum. Nevertheless, there's enough nascent promise here to suggest Nedelle is capable of quite a bit more with that voice of hers. (Thursday, March 17, 8pm @ Beerland)

**.5

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