For those who haven’t heard it yet (its been out since 2010), Memphis songstress Holly Cole’s Makeshift release Holly & The Heathens is a dynamite album worth seeking out.
With this collection of songs, Holly, her band, and engineer Toby Vest, creatively expand the sound normally heard with acoustic singer/songwriters. From the kickoff track, “Come Back To Me,” you can hear a Phil Spector Wall of Sound influence behind Holly’s wailing bright voice and Greg Faison’s echo-laden beat.
This use of dynamics and the building up of monster-beautiful choruses continues throughout the album. Holly’s voice is very unique; yeah she has a high range and can sustain those to-the-sky notes, but she also puts her soul into every word and you can tell that she means it. My favorite song is “Symptoms of a Broken Heart;” this track begins with a Pink Floydian guitar melody by Jake Vest and eventually erupts into a crushing classic country-ish chorus with background ahhh’s so haunting that they make you think of ancient soundtracks to spaghetti western films (her other band “The Memphis Dawls” can conjure up this sound instantly).