Heady and emotive, the lyrical matter on Deborah Crooks’ new album Little Bird is the stuff of pertinent social issues, self-awareness and personal experience. Meanwhile the musicality is a fusion of multiple genre facets and styles, ranging from straightforward rock to funk sentimentality to contemplative folk elements. The 11-track LP wears all these facets on its sleeve creating an amalgam album rife with deliberate, yet diverse musicality.
“Like An Earthquake” leans on the vivid imagery of its lyrical matter while the backing instrumentation serves as a bolstering agent for Crooks’ lush vocal delivery. What’s immediately apparent is this is an album that propels the merit of the tracks to the foreground of the listener’s attention, careful not to mire the songs down with an overabundance of musicality. Acoustic pick opens “Everclear” and finally assumes a tandem role alongside more contemplative vocals before slight percussion and backing bass line join the fold. The dour nature of the musicality underscores the urgent lyrical stuffs again making this track lean on Crooks’ songwriter facet. “Looking Down the Road” takes the album in a direction of levity with its opening electric guitar and hopeful lyrical matter (“It’s good to be alive…”). A foundation bass line melds with the electric notes creating a solid launching pad for the vocal delivery. This ready-for-radio track feels like an album single were there to be one. Funk and blues leanings shine on “Bittersweet Valentine” with its tale of unrequited love. The musicality shines brightest on this one with its funk-laced electric sentiment splashing in bent-note blues notes and the intricate percussion fills. “Little League” is an autobiographical track recalling the story of Crooks’ playing on an all-boys baseball team and speaks to the deeper issue of gender equality and the too often lack thereof. Again, the vocals shine while the instrumentation takes a complementary role just underneath. Wail slide electric is the standout instrumental facet on this one.
Little Bird is an album of thinking lyrical matter and features Crooks’ playing to her strengths penning deep, emotive lyrical matter and then appropriately pairing it with musicality that plays a strong complementary role to the song message and ethos. If you like your tracks heady and poignant, Crooks has 11-tracks here that fit that bill… listen, reflect, repeat.
by Chris West – firstname.lastname@example.org
I give this 3.5 Skopes.