Home, OK Sweetheart’s debut full-length, is a very strong effort that exemplifies what happens when good songwriters meet good musicians.
Commend the band for bundling lead singer Erin Austin’s jazzy sweet vocal range and bluesy writing tendencies into a soulful pop package that’s easy on the ears but a bit hard on the heart at times.
That’s not saying Home is a gloomy record, quite the opposite actually. The first four tracks start the album off quickly and evoke a sunny mood. It’s amazing how these songs remain upbeat, even as Austin herself tackles subjects such as a floundering lover, not-quite unrequited love, longing for home, and growing old; all with a refreshing honesty that is tempered by resolve.
“I keep on smiling as I fall,” she sings in the song “Traitor.”
The line perfectly displays Austin’s ability to juxtapose a bad situation against the kind of optimism that can overcome anything, which she does throughout the album with ease.
Tracks like “All We Have,” however, really show off a darker side of Austin’s songwriting. The song features a narrator who is weighing the pros and cons of medicated love. But again, Austin displays her ability to find light in the gray areas of a not-so pure existence.
All in all, this collection represents a tale of two moods. Austin paints somber scenes with her words only to wipe the canvas clean with uplifting hooks about love and hope– seemingly in an attempt to mend the listener’s heart that she alone broke in the first place with her soft piano and poetry.
Though the curative properties of love could be all songwriters’ worst kept secret, some musicians can speak of it with a flare that makes the idea seem new. Listening to Home, it’s easy to see what the judges saw in Erin Austin in 2008, when she won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Pop category.
Home will be available on Itunes and in stores today, April 5th! She also plays tonight at the Mint, in LA. Preview select tracks at:
(c) James Nghiem All rights reserved. Contact James through the emailz!