By: Jacob Weis
Louise Burns is fun to look at. But does the Zooey Deschanel-looking songstress make music as fun to listen to when she isn’t around to sing it to you personally? That depends.
Her debut solo album, Mellow Drama is as dynamic as it is complicated: its tracks crowd around you with what sounds like an orchestra of tambourinists and percussionists backing hooks reminiscent of the rushing dance-frantic pop hits of the 50’s and 60’s. Tunes like “Chinook” and “Sea Song” jingle, chime and shimmy their way into your head, which may, as a result, start to bob. (Spoiler Alert.)
Trouble is, a number of the cute, lonely-toned tunes blur together. At certain points of the album, you may feel like you’ve been listening to the same song—with minor differences—over and over. Burns coos; the boisterous background rush threatens to drown out her pretty, polite-slight vocals; a chirping string instrument and some crowd clapping surface towards the last chapter, riffing on the song’s hook. All that happens a lot.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t bright highlights to the relatively repetitive playlist. “Teen Angst,” the album’s third track, is imploring and sincere and resonant. You can see Burns, her straight-across bangs hanging just above big blue eyes, wondering ‘why [she] always feels this way’ as she sits on a cement stoop just below your foggy window on a rainy afternoon. “What Do You Wanna Do” is sweet, a schoolgirl patty-cake chant/lullaby with all the innocence and verve of a sunny playground scene re-imagined to convey the pettiness and childishness of manipulatively-weighty relationships.
Definite plusses, definite minuses to this one. So its ‘goodness’ depends. It’s exciting, creative, sugary stuff, just don’t eat it all at once.
Seven and a half out of ten. That’s 7.5/10 in case you don’t have a calculator handy.