Shelby Earl, ‘Swift Arrows,’ (CD Baby)
Seattle-based singer/songwriter Shelby Earl wowed the crowd at the opening concert for Experience Museum Project’s “Women Who Rock” exhibit, turning in strong covers of the Pretenders and Mazzy Star. But she puts her own material on display throughout “Swift Arrows.” Earl’s voice is as cool, clear and sharp as a dip in a brisk mountain stream, with producer Damien Jurado (another Seattle-based singer songwriter) carefully building a full band sound around her while leaving her vocals the main attraction.
“Sea of Glass” has the bright, big sound of classic girl-group songs of the ’60s (think Shirelles), all booming drums and call-and-answer vocals between Earl and the backing singers; it also touches on the submissiveness of the girl-group era as well, with lines like “Let it hurt, just make it last.”
On the flip side of that sentiment is the bright pop of “The Artist,” which features castanets as the sprightly backing of such tart observations as “I love you, you love you, too.” The closing track, “We Will Die,” encapsulates Earl’s talents concisely, delivering disconcerting truths in a style that’s undeniably beguiling.
Other new releases
Etienne Charles , “Creole Soul” (MRI)
Selena Gomez, “Stars Dance” (Hollywood)
Marc Anthony , “3.0” (Sony US Latin)