Jessica Lea Mayfield Make My Head Sing

Jessica Lea Mayfield Make My Head Sing
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From Jessica Lea Mayfield, it's safe to expect a major dose of personality, especially since her previous two albums were such emotionally wrought kaleidoscopes. With Make My Head Sing, the Ohio-based more-alt-than-country singer-songwriter ventures into new territory. Mayfield is self-assured this time around, but no happier; a distorted electric guitar is her weapon of choice and this sometimes messy, rough-around-the-edges record charms rather than pushes you away.

Don't be fooled by the heavy-duty openers, "Oblivion" and "Pure Stuff." The scorch yields in short order to melodic indie rock ("Standing in the Sun"), '80s affectation ("Do I Have The Time"), melancholic hooky pop ("Seein Starz"), and some compelling excursions into solo guitar ("Unknown Big Secret," "Anything You Want" and "No Fun").

Mayfield achieves impressive variation for such a guitar-centred, stripped-down approach, while her tranquil, fall-asleep-at-the-wheel voice counterbalances all the heaviness and reverb across a handful of songs that threaten to unravel like an innocent question that leads to a fistfight. "I could kill her with the power of my mind," she sings in the first track, but "fortunately I'm a big humanitarian." (ATO/Maple)