GENRE | RETRO GLAM ARTIST
VERDICT | AMY WINEHOUSE VOID-FILLER
LABEL | RAINWATER/THIRTY TIGERS
RELEASE | 3.19.13
SHE is not about a woman who doesn’t know what she wants. The first lyrics you hear are “Where are you going with your life?”
Woah, Alice Smith. We’re going there right off the bat. At least buy me a cocktail first.
From those striking lyrics sung a cappella in Smith’s hauntingly gruff yet tender voice, it’s clear Smith is a seasoned artist who takes no prisoners.
SHE teeters on the edge of ’60s and ’70s R&B and soul, but it’s balanced by a contemporary urban sound. Smith’s evocation of ’60s all-female doo-wop groups in “Shot” and of a Diana Ross-esque soul/disco queen in “Another Love” places her ahead of other retro-inspired contemporary artists. Other artists may overuse instruments as if to say, “In case you didn’t get it, I’m going to make sure you know this is ‘retro.’” Smith knows to mostly keep it simple but sparingly adds some musical spice to the mix.
SHE is soulful, intricate, expertly crafted, and empowering. A line from final song and title track sums it up best:
“Can’t you hear me?/I’m she, she, she.”
[Tue. 4.9.13. 158 Brighton Ave., Allston. 6pm/all ages/$12. @Brighton_Music.brightonmusichall.com]