Speeding Ticket and a Valentine - Blame Sally Album Review
Convention defying San Francisco Bay area based female quartet Blame Sally, enters sixth album territory still happily sharing vocal duties like kids splitting cake at a birthday party. This approach allows for the backing vocals to take on more potency than your average modern band, by virtue of the fact that those providing this element are equally adept at taking the lead.
The first two tracks, lobbing lullaby pushed, Natalie Merchant mirroring , 'Bird In Hand' and the pedestrian paced, dual gravelly vocal nudged, seeping guitar led alt' Country focused 'Big Big Bed'. Help to illuminate the vocal variety and willingness to shift the approach to suit the mood of the message. Contrast is offered through the aching blues rock sojourn, 'Living Without You'. Renee Harcourt's yearning vocals, possibly even Shania Twain touching in parts, tug at the heart strings yet give some pop body to contrast with the quite sturdy instrumental lag.
A fresh cosmopolitan touch that comes largely from Monica Pasqual's Mexican/New Mexican heritage is striking and masterful, 'Pajaros Sin Alas'. It's complemented by the crisp and uplifting vocally harmonious touch of Harcourt, as she introduces the number with oxymoronically poetic lyrical insight:
I'm a fish that doesn't swim when I sink, am I out or am I in?
I'm a rose without a garden, I'm a brush without an artist.
Almost done before I'm started.
Percussionist, Pam Delgado's time in the vocal limelight takes a twisting folk and mournful pop twist, 'Back In The Saddle'. The life of an earnest, salt of the earth gal struggling under the burdens of dwelling in our image based world, is unfurled in this hard wearing mini-epic. 'Wide Open Spaces' sees the jazz pop instrumental demon in these four independent women coming to the fore. It is topped off by a spellbinding vocal contrast of soaring, caressing soulfulness and gravelly blues aching.
Often albums that attempt to explore the lushness of pop and mingle in a harmony laden approach with bristling rhythmic interludes, the odd rustic rock soiree and acoustic searching. Usually get labelled incongruous and are not deemed worthy of more than two listens. Not this one!