Tovah, Erin Ivey, Kimbo, and Annabella
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., May 30, 2008
London-based Tovah would be an unlikely candidate for Girlie Action were it not for Escapologist's percussive heart, courtesy of King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto and his Austin-area studio. It's an expensive presentation from package to the final track, rich and luxurious beats that meld reggae ("Alpha & Omega"), classic-form rock ("D-Day"), and exuberant Euro synth-pop ("Mamba"). Sweet Little E.P. is an apt title for Erin Ivey's third release. The four folk-pop entries include a Radiohead cover ("Climbing Up the Walls") and meander gently through country-lite pedal steel in "Don't Fight" and a tender paean to Amelia Earhart. Ivy's wispy voice floats in that Grey's Anatomy soundtrack way, but it's hard to grasp her music in this short offering. The songwriter muse manifests itself more traditionally in Spokes by local singer-songwriter Kimbo. There's no edgy fashion to her self-styled "progressive folk-rock," but Spokes boasts the requisite dose of earnest, lilting vocals needed to make listening a pleasure. Annabella isn't a solo act but rather a Georgetown-based husband-and-wife team whose gorgeous Songs of Goodbye was one of 2005's local gems. The duo returns with Say Goodnight, another shade of their charming melancholy reminiscent of 1990s bands like the Sundays. Terri Dittmar's voice is soft gold, malleable and smooth on "Sun Is King," "Carousel," the two mixes of "Peach Tree," and "Say Goodnight." There's a New Age touch in the fey instrumentation, heavy on keyboards, but it's enticing, never mushy, and as warmly satisfying as a red-wine-and-candles snuggle with your lover.