Album Review: Nobody’s Girl

BettySoo, Grace Pettis, and Rebecca Loebe helm a collective effort of defiant, supportive independence

Album Review: <i>Nobody’s Girl</i>

BettySoo, Grace Pettis, and Rebecca Loebe, each remarkable artists in their own right, struck an immediate chemistry on 2018's Waterline EP, funneling their songwriting instincts into more pop territory as Nobody's Girl. The trio's eponymous full-length debut fulfills that promise, not only in the uncanny power of their combined voices, but in the shared writing credits.

Like Pettis' most recent album, this year's Working Woman, Nobody's Girl strikes as both empowering and humbling, staring directly into hard truths with a fierce poeticism. At the outset, the anthemic "Kansas" sets a tone of breaking free of expectations and the uncertain excitement of where it might lead. Likewise, the songwriters surprise throughout, their voices amplifying less in harmonies than in a unifying whole propelling breathless traded verses, like the danger-baiting swings of "Rescued" and "Tiger," or the dark, intoxicating spill of "The Morning After."

As if the triumvirate talent anchoring Nobody's Girl weren't enough already, the band also recruits a local A-list for the album. Produced by Michael Ramos, who also contributes keys and percussion, the group adds Glenn Fukunaga's bass and wrangles guitars from David Grissom, David Pulkingham, and Charlie Sexton, with Conrad Choucroun and J.J. Johnson also sliding in on drums. Yet the backing ensemble never shows off, instead accentuating the frontwomen through various shades of country, pop, folk, and even rock ballads.

"What'll I Do" and "Waterline" both get reworked from the EP, and the group's knack for perfect covers continues in taking on Eliza's Gilkyson's burning "Beauty Way" and Carole King's tender "So Far Away." The poignant highlights, though, emerge in two more socially oriented songs, the hook-hung call of "Promised Land" and the stunning "Birthright," which reckons with the burden of inherited sins.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Nobody's Girl lies in the egalitarian nature of the whole project. The three voices meld into a nearly indistinguishable whole, as does the songwriting. A collective effort of defiant, supportive independence.

Nobody's Girl

(Lucky Hound)

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Nobody's Girl
Texas Platters
Nobody’s Girl
Waterline (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 28, 2018

More by Doug Freeman
Watch This: Darkbird’s Kelly Barnes Feels it Dance-heavy “Heartbeat” Video
Watch This: Darkbird’s Kelly Barnes Feels it Dance-heavy “Heartbeat” Video
Immaculate pop single pumps Eighties Grooves

Sept. 17, 2021

Austin Music: What We're Listening to This Week
Austin Music: What We're Listening to This Week
Future Museums, Charley Crockett, Merciful Heavens, Frederico7, Eric Unusual, and Bob Schneider

Sept. 17, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Nobody's Girl, Nobody's Girl, BettySoo, Grace Pettis, Rebecca Loebe, Michael Ramos, Glenn Fukunaga, David Grissom, David Pulkingham, Charlie Sexton, Conrad Choucroun, J.J. Johnson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle