The Austin Chronicle

Album Review: Jaimee Harris

Boomerang Town (Thirty Tigers)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, February 17, 2023, Music

Jaimee Harris' 2018 debut Red Rescue roared with rock energy, fiercely honest and unnerving with an underlying biting intensity. Follow-up Boomerang Town cuts equally close to the bone, but the Austin-area native finds her power more in the deeply poetic narratives than the backing. Case in point: the seven-minute title track opener that sears with a familiar futility of small-town escape. Even as the album's themes tap similar veins for Harris (addiction, loss, and restless want), the songwriter finds a poignant truth in leaning into more character-driven arcs than personal crises, though the songs still burn with the working revelations of heavy introspection. Side A weighs heavy with the bitter strength and brilliant lines of "On the Surface," dark disillusion of Sam's Town Point-inspired ballad "Sam's," and the alcoholism allegory "The Fair and Dark Haired Lad," scorched by Michele Gazich's violin.

The aching "How Could You Be Gone," co-written with Harris' partner, Mary Gauthier, lingers in the loss of longtime mentor Jimmy LaFave. The backside resets with the beautiful light strum of "Good Morning, My Love," belying the tension between promise and doubt, and the yearning touch of "Like You." Even at her most gentle, Harris strikes devastatingly. The haunting memory of a young classmate's death in "Fall (Devin's Song)" and the swooning hope of "Love Is Gonna Come Again" set the upbeat closing rhythm of "Missing Someone," letting her vocal range flow after treading in the deep waters. Boomerang Town reaches new heights for Harris.

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