Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Rock and roll with the purity of mountain spring water. Sarah is very sweet, but when she is performing, it is take no prisoners. There is a rawness and authenticity in Sarah’s music that has not been experienced since Lucinda Williams was in her prime. Sarah’s music has a punk rock edge and attitude, even on the slower numbers. The emotion is real whether tempo is fast or slow.
The music gets quite heavy at times. But any heaviness is quickly balanced with Sarah’s strong, yet soft, vocal abilities. Somehow Sarah taps into that three pack a day voice while still remaining harmonic. It’s a very powerful combination. This IS rock and roll. Any great team is not made up of only one person and it is important to give a shout out to the rest of the band. This band is tighter than GI Joe’s kung fu grip.
Are You Still Takin Them Pills (Track 5) is a perfect rock and roll ditty that tackles the subject of drug abuse. It’s done in a more conversational way as opposed to being preachy. This isn’t Sarah on her soapbox. No, this is more like two friends talking. Sarah even admits to still being tempted by those same demons, even after years of sobriety. The music behind the lyrics is part early rock and roll and part Cramps. Very easy on the ears.
I didn’t realize it, but I was hankerin’ for a soft, yet edgy, sad ballad. Good thing for me that Grow Wings (Track 7) is just a click away. This song is so melancholy and Sarah’s voice just increases the intensity. This is a whole tissue box worth of tears. Even through the tears, the beauty of this stunner shines through quite brightly. This is another number to put on repeat.
Let’s forget about the sad stuff for a bit. How about going from sad to just downright grungy and dirty. That’s right, I must be listening to Lucky Rocks (Track 2). This is a very catchy number that sounds a little like Joan Jett teamed up with the Stooges. But just when the heaviness is at its peak, Sarah’s soothing voice cut’s right through the angst for a perfect balancing act.
Well, 2018 is closing out strong with some great releases this fall. You can add Love’s Middle Name to the list. I am not a mind reader, just a realist. And after a few good listens, I have concluded that Love’s Middle Name is a keeper. This album will not be one of those that is forgotten after Christmas. This collection will be on people’s minds long after the close of 2018.