"It's worth reminding you again of the scribblers of those melancholy tunes," croons Charlie Faye gently on "Conspiracy of the Sad Song," capturing slow heartbreak as it unravels across the Austin-based troubadour's third disc. Written and recorded as her five-year relationship with local linchpin Will Sexton dissolved, You Were Fine never wavers into pity or maudlin tropes, but instead presents the kaleidoscope of emotional refractions in the clear-eyed, defiant torch tradition of Aimee Mann and quiet power of Natalie Merchant. "Stone in the Road" opens upbeat even amid recognition of the impending disillusion. "Knocked Down" and "It's a Fighter" punch harder for Sexton's harmonies, while "How Long" trades pop for a soulful, fiddle-laced scorching, and "To the Altar" turns folk in the wrenching letting go of a lover for a safe marriage. The crushing "When It's Over" threatens to end the album misery-soaked, but the suave soul kick given reprised closer "What's So Special (Way Station Version)" balms with a perfect break-up bravado. There's no bitterness, just the gradual, inevitable burn-down of a flame, and grasp toward rebound. As Faye twangs in declaration, "Love's greatest fault, it gets all over everything."
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