Saturday, July 25, 2015

Holly Golightly: “Slowtown Now!” (2015) CD Review

I am always happy when a new Holly Golightly CD is released. Mostly what we’ve been hearing from her lately is Brokeoffs material, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new album, Slowtown Now! (her first full band album in a decade). I’ve been totally digging Holly Golightly And The Brokeoffs (their Sunday Run Me Over was on my list of the best CDs of 2012, and last year’s All Her Fault was on my list of best CDs of 2014). Slowtown Now! has more of a rock and roll flavor than the Brokeoffs material. But while quite a bit different in sound and approach than the Brokeoffs, this new CD has the same joy and intelligence and humor.

It opens with “Seven Wonders,” which right away has a catchy groove to get you in the right mood. And then Holly’s wonderful and distinctive voice comes in. This tune has a delightful, classic feel, with some cool work on guitar. It’s followed by “Fool Fool Fool (Look In The Mirror),” the one cover song on this CD. This tune was written by Rudy Clark, and performed by Barbara Lewis. There are other versions of “Fool Fool Fool,” by groups like Ray Brown And The Whispers and Joey And The Flips, attributed to Rudy Clark, but those seem like a completely different song. So did Rudy Clark write a song titled “Fool Fool Fool,” and then another song a few years later titled “Fool Fool Fool (Look In The Mirror)”? It seems that way. Anyway, this recording by Holly Golightly is excellent. She’s really got that 1960s vibe happening. What a wonderful vocal performance.

“Frozen In Time” is one of my personal favorites on this disc. Holly’s vocals are so smooth and sexy and sweet, and there is a wonderful jazzy feel to it, due of course in part to George Simmonds’ presence on trombone. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Drink ‘til we’re dry/Think we can fly/Falling like rocks into the river/Even though I’ve tried/I can’t seem to find/Any way to leave you behind.” There is also a jazzy element to the delightful and quirky “Empty Space,” another favorite, which makes great uses of pauses. “There’s an empty space where you should have had something to say/I got no more time to waste on silence, I won’t wait.” I completely love the bass on this track.

“As You Go Down” is another of this album’s many highlights. It has a fantastic 1960s sound and is full of kick-ass attitude. I mean, check out these lines: “And all you recall as you hit the ground/Will be the sound of the crowd cheering out loud/As you go down, you go down, you go down, you go down, you go down” and “And that knife in your back will be turning some more.” This is one that has me dancing around in my apartment and singing along. I just fucking love this song. And speaking of 1960s rock sounds, the opening of “Stopped My Heart” sounds a lot like Jefferson Airplane’s “The Ballad Of You &Me & Pooneil” (“If you were a bird and you lived very high…”), though a bit slower.

“Slowtown” has something of a cool, dark country vibe, which I love. It’s a song about taking a break from the road: “The road gets as weary as it’s long,” “Don’t worry about a thing, swing by and rest/You get too tired to go on, heading east then heading west/Leave your troubles at the door.” And this song gives the album its title, in the line “You can come on down/I live in Slowtown now.” I really like the way those lines are repeated at the end.

“What You See” features more great 1960s sounds, and is yet one more highlight. It has kind of a peppy sound, but with lyrics that work in wonderful contrast. Actually, it’s almost like the sound of the song is the very front she sings about. After all, the first line is “See me smile, you think I’m glad.” A little later she sings, “But all you know ain’t all there is to show/And what you don’t I won’t ever let you know/You won’t ever know.”

CD Track List
  1. Seven Wonders
  2. Fool Fool Fool (Look In The Mirror)
  3. Frozen In Time
  4. As You Go Down
  5. Stopped My Heart
  6. Empty Space
  7. Catch Your Fall
  8. Slowtown
  9. Hell To Pay
  10. What You See
  11. Forevermore
  12. When I Wake
Slowtown Now! is scheduled to be released on September 11, 2015 through Damaged Goods. (Well, that's the date listed on the press sheet, anyway. On the Damaged Goods site, the release date is given as August 28, 2015. And on Amazon, it's listed as coming out on August 21, 2015.)

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