Vanessa Lowe

Vanessa Lowe

57 Suspect Words

The Mighty Prawn / Jicama Salad

57 Suspect Words sees Vanessa Lowe coming into her own as a songwriter and performer. Following her already impressive debut, Barnacles of Joy, Lowe had expectations raised high, and it’s nice to see her not only living up to the promise of her debut, but surpassing it. 57 Suspect Words is strong and confident, with eloquent songwriting delivered in a subtle but certain manner. As a songwriter, she’s infinitely more solid and confident than on her first album. This recording shows her versatility and sense of quiet inventiveness; it’s brimming with lovely melodies and compassionate songwriting.

The song arrangements help raise this miles above your regular singer-songwriter album. Lowe’s co-musicians (The Bug Eyed Sprite, including former Counting Crows drummer Toby Hawkins) sound like a real band rather than a mere backing group for Lowe; not surprising, perhaps, considering their long touring experiences together. From the funky folk of “Darwinian Darts” to the jammy “Ashes From•,” from the stoked “Your Worried Mind” to the lovely “The Tells,” Lowe has crafted a sophomore album with enough versatility to maintain interest throughout. Her music recalls, at various points, Joni Mitchell, Ani Di Franco, Modest Mouse and all points in-between.

It’s not all equally good, though. A couple of the meditative tracks on the album’s latter half fall a bit short of what’s come before. But for the most part, Lowe proves herself capable of expressing her sentiments in a profound, intimate manner, while still maintaining her focus on writing a good, strong and captivating tune.

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