Over the Sun
Someone really dropped the ball by not naming this album Confessions of a Southern Gothic Queen and riding the Lindsay Lohan movie marketing powerhouse. Inevitably some mother, only familiar with the first and last words of the album title, would’ve brought Shannon Wright home to her ‘tween daughter and subsequently changed her entire view on music.
Wright’s confessions aren’t adolescent melodrama, but post break-up neurosis. The disc is full of reflective dissections like: “Your love is a forgery” and “You’ll be the death of me while I wait for you.” Lines like these are given venom by her low register warble and throaty wail. This spare and raw intensity is captured perfectly by Steve Albini, who somehow makes Wright’s vocal presence sound just inches away, creating an incredibly intimate and imposing experience.
Albini does a wonderful job with the music as well. The snap and lash of Wright’s guitar riffs are put to tape so precisely they practically hum with dust and age. Wright’s piano work is similarly excellent, ranging from somber to lilting, spare to florid sometimes over the course of one song (see “Avalanche”). Christina Files provides supple or clangorous drum work when needed, allowing Wright to expand her palette.
In the hands of that unsuspecting ‘tween, the enormity of passion and sound here will provide some much needed perspective on how much deeper emotional complexity in song can reach than the Michelle Branchs and Avril Lavignes of the usual drama queen soundtrack. This can only be a good thing.