Out For Delivery
Where did Lauren Desberg come from? And what a talent! This is her third album as I understand it – but the first I’ve heard. And I’m hooked – instantly.
She combines the best aspects of Norah Jones (vocally) and Nellie McKay (songwriting) to create a short, sharp – clever – pop album that is dressed in jazz. Actually, though the Jones-esque delivery style and tone is undeniable it might be better to compare the end result here to Steely Dan and Joe Jackson.
Out For Delivery is a concept album of sorts too, an ode to mindfulness – mostly original songs but even when a couple of standards are reworked they’re bent and twisted to speak to the modern condition. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down (And Write Myself A Letter) here becomes a little self-love meets self-help paean to self-care.
Something Wrong With Me (an original) is more direct.
The band assembled here is wonderful – a huge, important part of the sound. Pianist Kris Bowers, bassists, Russell Hall and Ben Shepherd, drummer Jonathan Barber and guitarist Andrew Renfroe all contribute mightily to the sound and soul of this record. Renfroe’s guitar solo on the opening scene-setter, The Way You Feel Inside, is very reminiscent of Steely Dan.
Some of the song titles give you instant clues to this overarching theme – Falling Dominoes, Alone In Love, Start Out Again, How Could I Have Pain – and the way Desberg incorporates deep though, quirky modern situations and beguiling, beautiful pop melodies in a jazz setting while taking on some ‘heavy’/concept ideas puts her on a par with Ed Motta and Kurt Elling.
There’s much to love here. Including the breezy feel of so much of the music, a clever ruse as there’s some big, deep, heavy thoughts hiding in these accessible, charming, lightweight-seeming ‘pop’ songs.
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