Holly Golightly - Truly She Is None Other
Holly Golightly is part of a fairly large and promiscuous musical family. As well as her work with the White Stripes, which managed to bring her to the attention of a far larger audience, she was once a member of the almost legendary 'Thee Headcoatees', who were the backing band for Billy Childish's 'Thee Headcoates'. As well as Golightly, Thee Headcoatees also boasted the talents of the wonderful Kyra De Connick and 'Bongo' Debbie on drums, who still record together as The A-Lines along with the delightful Delia Dansette and Julie Hamper. Got all that? Good, but you should discard it all, for Holly Golightly doesn't really sound much like any of the bands mentioned.
There's still the heavy blues influence on this album, and the shadow of The Kinks hangs heavy, but Golightly prefers the very mellow approach. There's nothing on here that could remotely be described as garage punk. This is very much 60's chill-out country/blues pop, if we may be so bold as to invent a silly little label. Actually, it really is silly to label it, for this is the sort of thing that would be appreciated by anyone who appreciates simple music played from the heart. The album sucks you in very nicely indeed with Walk A Mile with its lazy blues riff and warm vocal. That lazy, lilting riff is built around a plodding, simple bass line, incorporating the odd guitar lick. It evokes images of Nancy Sinatra and coffee shops. All Around The Houses ups the tempo a little with twanging guitar, and adds a lovely slight echo to Golightly's vocal that gives the whole production a dreamy quality that becomes a recurring theme of the album.
Musically, this is quite a sparse album; it's production is faultless and apart from a double bass, drums and twangy guitar there's nothing else used and anything else would probably kill the songs anyway. Golighly's voice is haunting and soft, perfectly suited to the acoustic nature and laziness of these songs and the sparse music gives it a chance to breath. It's expressive, treacle like voice that lies in amongst the melodies and is never allowed to overcome them, but complements them perfectly and fills out the gaps. Like on Sent for an example, just very simple slide blues guitar and her voice and the song sounds so full and deep that anything else would just be superfluous. One Neck comes complete with haunting, barely audible multi-layered backing harmonies that lie just underneath the fifties style bass-line and slight distortion on Golightly's almost spoken word delivery. It'll send shivers up your spine and that's a guarantee. It's a stand out track, as is Without You Here which features the lovely line - "Days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years" which is delivered with the sort of velvet sucker punch that Holly does so well.
If there's any criticism to be made of the album its that maybe its a little too laid back, a little too mellow, for it's own good, but that's a very minor criticism. It is, after all, Holly Golightly's major strength, and when it's done this well, there's little to be gained through complaining about it. Play softly at night, with a loved one.