Abby Mott: Hearts a'Flutter
Trying to pick one favorite song is the worst thing about Abby Mott's solo debut, Hearts a'Flutter. The local singer/songwriter wrote, arranged, and recorded this pretty 11-song outing all by herself, playing/singing everything from backing vocals to drums to egg shaker to "interior door (knob and hinges)"--save electric bass on one song. It's a surprisingly polished record for its piecemeal recording origins, but given that Mott has a stupid-gorgeous voice and effortless knack for the brain-burrowing hook, she could back herself with croaking frogs and flatulent goats and we'd probably still bop along.
Yes, it's still your basic girl-powered indie pop, but such finely made confections remain incorrigibly sweet no matter how fattening they may be. Mott props up her sassy, sensual voice with a galloping bass and drums in "Aphrodite" before belting out a full-throated chorus and coming in with a whistled bridge. (Yes, all things cutesy and girlie are total weak spots here.) She gets a little Neko Case breathless on the slightly honky-tonk "Cowboy Boots," which she eventually accents with a jaunty electric-piano line.
The catch is that this pure-pop young woman puts her plush, pliable voice to such devilish delights. "Lonely hearts get together by the light of the moon/ get rid of your clothes you'll be warm enough soon," she sings on the acoustic-guitar driven "Lonely Hearts." She undercuts the lovey-dovey vibe of the song in the very next line: "Hey, what does it matter if it's really love? Darling, would you know it if it really was?" Mott's ghostly voice traces a translucent melody in the almost children's lullaby "Breaking," which quickly turns macabre when the song narrator's heart breaks out of her chest and rolls away. More emotional evisceration takes place in the supercatchy "Africa From Here," where Mott cheekily sings, "Am I killing you?/ it's been so easy for me dying all alone/ No one there to care/ pulls all my organs out and dumps them on the floor." This song's woman isn't just going to leave them there to rot, though: "And once they're there, how do I stuff them back inside? And once they there, how do I stop from crawling cross this floor and giving you the blues?"