Early Girl - Forever We Change
We all know that indie artists are hard-working, and Michael-Louis de Terre is no exception. If the name rings a bell, it's because I recently reviewed his band Rosemary's Garden's album Royal Flush. Apparently, fronting an indie folk turned blues rock band isn't enough, so de Terre has branched out by becoming a one-man rhythm section of sorts for relocated Santa Monica, California singer Gina Longo. Their collaborative project is named Early Girl, starring Longo and her commanding vocals, with de Terre in the background playing electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, and a pretty mean harmonica at times.
Longo's an interesting story herself if you believe the folklore. She had the distinction of being signed to Death Row Records at an extremely young age, the label Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg made famous for putting West Coast hip-hop on the map. Longo's no rapper, at least not on debut Early Girl album Forever We Change. Any semblance of gangsta ties she may have had in any former life have been co-opted by R&B soul, the type that's playful enough to be accepted by radio stations with the word "Hot" in their branding. The most mainstream-ready track is probably "Stand Up", although it's more for fun than any kind of empowerment statement. Producer as well as performer de Terre is definitely enjoying himself over all 11 songs, almost as if he's challenging Longo to sing over different music genres. "Tangled Up", for instance, has an old-timey, Bazooka bubblegum pop feel to it. There's some kickin' country fiddle and harmonica courtesy of de Terre on "Drunk". On the loungy, yearning "Somebody Saved Me", you want to reach out and grab Longo as you listen to her impassioned plea for someone to take her hand. Oh, and the blues guitar rocks!
Early Girl are no White Stripes, not even She and Him, but Forever We Change is an incredibly pleasurable listen if you like your pop music a little off the beaten path. Would love to see them in concert - That is, if they ever choose to venture outside of their native California for a tour!
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