The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, June 25, 2010, Music

Sarah Jaffe

Suburban Nature (Kirtland)

Denton's Sarah Jaffe sneaks in during the first verse of "Before You Go": "My heart pretends not to know how it ends." It's a crusher, but her voice is soft and haunted; she's a singer-songwriter more in the vein of Jana Hunter than Patty Griffin. Suburban Nature, her first LP, lures you in and then creeps you out with its intensity. On "Summer Begs" she purrs softly, "Somewhere someone's listening to the sound of a record spinning," windows open, music on, a scene from a Raymond Carver short story. "Swelling" cuts out of the album's country-folk trot and becomes its own fever dream, calm even when singing: "Are you trying to tell me something with your eyes? All I want to do now is lay down and die." They're tales of quiet desperation, the kind that blow down the sidewalk when you're not paying attention. For a debut, it's one to pay close attention to.


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