It’s hard to ignore the crisp sound of well placed hand claps, encompassing oohs and aahs, a taught snare, the echoing ring of a tambourine, chiming guitar and luscious female vocals. That sound was fantastic sixty years ago, and honestly, those that follow the recipe and have the required chops can make it sound great today. Those timeless songs weren’t about studio magic or effects. The only thing that mattered was the song itself. Good songs stood out from the incessant racket, and sadly today that isn’t necessarily the case.
Unfortunately, the fact that Vancouver’s Louise Burns writes songs that fill that void and is nice to look at means that almost every article about her music is going to mention a similarity to retro-revivalist girl group She & Him. Undoubtedly, it’s hard to knock M. Ward’s chops or Zooey’s pure voice, but what makes Louise’s record more significant is that you never wonder when she’ll kick up her foot, smile into the camera and launch into a choreographed dance routine. Without question, Burns can write an ear pleasing melody that sparkles with hand percussion, hand claps, hints of surf guitar but Mellow Drama has a bite – both in sound and lyrical content – that darkens the affair and a musical appreciation that shows off inspiration from the most unsuspecting sources.
Thanks to the good people at Light Organ Records and StageFright Publicity, we have (5) copies of Louise’s Singles 7″ to giveaway. All we need from you is your contact details, so how about you go ahead and email us [herohill AT gmail DOT COM] or leave the pertinents in the comments section below
Sure, this is a country pop, girl group record but hidden in the textures is an appreciation of the greats. The young Vancouverite is deeply indebted to Buddy Holly and when she hits on all cylinders (the infectious “What Do You Wanna Do”) you swoon along uncontrollably, but it’s moments like the Marr like shimmer of “Burning Bridges” and (personal fav) “Street Walking”, the explosion of chimes, guitar and harmonies that ends “Island Vacation” and the Mazzy Star like fuzz of “Clean” that keep you guessing and really define her sound. It’s hard to believe that the woman that penned the country-pop opener, “Chinook (Sing From The Valley of Doubt)”, is the same woman that explores the macabre and hazy smoke sounds of “Ocean’s Gray” and Cohen’s “Gypsy’s Wife”, but that freedom and experimentation is why Mellow Drama gets better with each listen.
The more you listen, the more you realize that nothing about Burns is manufactured. She has long since realized her place in the scene is temporary and writing to follow a recipe only leaves you two-steps behind. She knows that getting paid to write songs is all well and good, but ultimately, a failing endeavor. For those that know Louise from her past, Mellow Drama forces to forget what you heard about first impressions. Louise Burns’ slate has been cleaned and her future rewritten, one that promises a career not just radio ready singles.