photo by Mike Machian
by Hilary Stohs-Krause
Haters gonna hate, but when it comes to All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, I willingly suspend cynicism to indulge in some good ol’ fashioned, love-addled ukulele.
One of frontwoman Rebecca Lowry’s trademark words is “precious,” and while her third album, Here’s Hoping Tomorrow Never Comes, has its fair share of the cutesy (see the tracks about falling in love with Smokey the Bear and Pop Rocks), in other ways this effort is a marked departure from previous work.
photo by Mike Machian
Last year’s self-titled album tended to jump around. It was like she found an abandoned chemistry lab and had to try out every different combination of chemicals possible. That sort of gleeful rampage resulted in some delightful explosions, but also some combinations that merely fizzled out.
On Here’s Hoping, however, Lowry’s dedicated herself to a specific batch of experiments, and the result is a cohesive amalgam of soul and jazz, with some carefully measured doo-wop stirred in. Lowry and her pipes especially shine on tracks like “Leave Me Lonely,” “The Devil Walks Into A Bar,” “Give a Damn” and “Maple Street.”
“Paper Dolls,” the first track she ever wrote, is released here for the first time, and anyone who’s ever wondered about the band’s name will want to listen carefully. The addition of background vocals, including those from Lowry’s sister, give some tracks needed support.
Lowry still has room to grow. Some of the tracks lack passion or texture; at her absolute best, she channels the likes of Big Mama Thornton, but her voice is almost too pleasant. A little more ferocity, a little more brass — a little more chutzpah — could make a big difference.
Hilary Stohs-Krause is getting the final ducks in a row for next week's 2nd annual X-Rated: Women in Music showcase for Lincoln Calling music festival. She gets her local music fix through HN and as a cocktail waitress at Duffy's Tavern. For more on Nebraska ladies making music, tune into the "X-Rated: Women in Music" radio show every Thursday from 1:05-3 p.m. CST at 89.3 FM KZUM in Lincoln or streaming live at kzum.org. Find "X-Rated" on Facebook at facebook.com/xmusicnebraska.