Emily Easterly is a fine if not especially distinctive singer; she sounds like that shy girl in your high school class. The one who used to hide behind her hair and occasionally say strange things. Since I’ve long had a sweet tooth for such a girl, that’s a good thing. Easterly’s band, especially drummer John Morgan, is less effective but generally inoffensive, however she will need a little more to push herself above the crowd.
That kind of girl (the kind I have a sweet tooth for, above) can come off as aloof, and Easterly doesn’t avoid the trap. Her lyrics are affable and brief enough to approach haiku, but some of them give the impression that Easterly has stopped at the surface of her lyrical concerns rather than dig deep in preparation of letting fly. The production, by Easterly and Miguel Urbiztondo, could also use a little more variety (what is Roger Bechirian doing these days…), particularly in getting a tighter, steadier performance out of her band.
Ms. Easterly’s web site declares that her music is “What a redhead should sound like,” and if that’s true, then redheads should sound a lot like indie, with perhaps a touch of art-rock, backed by the inevitable pop of the Beatle-influenced. It’s as if the Trash Can Sinatras covered Pink Floyd with Siouxsie Sioux on vocals.
Sometimes an album is more interesting for the potential one hears in its “grooves” (or laser-encoded numbers, or whatever) than for itself. Cole is such a record. What Easterly has going for her is an attractive voice and a fair gift for lyrics which she needs to further develop. At this juncture, she is enormously promising in raw talent. One can only hope she will be able to refine it. If so, the result might turn out to be as satisfying as Eric Stoltz finally getting how right Mary Stuart Masterson is for him at the end of Some Kind of Wonderful.
Emily Easterly: http://www.emilyeasterly.com/