Hurts to Purr is the brainchild of singer Liz Pappademas, Austin's answer to Fiona Apple without the drama-queen histrionics. Accordingly, the local trio's debut is a moody affair that opens with the lugubrious "I Didn't Mean It," in which Pappademas croons a plea for forgiveness over her piano and producer Kevin Ryan's plinking celesta, Tom Benton's upright bass conversing evocatively with the piano's higher-register declarations. "Mr. Atom" opens with a speak and spell intoning "h-u-r-t-s-t-o " before Pappademas embarks upon a jazzy story-song about her imaginary friend, with whom she builds "microchips and landing strips." It's a whimsical little ditty, and is probably the lightest note on the whole album. "Turn It Down (The Homesick Volume)," meanwhile, is an exercise in dramatic, epic instrumentation. While Pappademas complains about the escalating volume in her head, her supporting players freak out on various instruments, from trumpet to synth to menacing voices. Sometimes the moodiness feels like an affectation; Pappademas and company should take themselves a little less seriously and tone down the aural gewgaws. Otherwise, it never hurts to listen.
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