Katie Mullins Pastoral

Katie Mullins Pastoral
Katie Mullins has drawn influences from a close network of artists and musicians ― Lucinda Black Bear (for whom she has sung backing vocals), Peter and the Wolf, and Joanna Newsom, amongst others. She offers her own subdued dose of uniqueness, albeit less polished, with Pastoral. Regrettably, her first collection of original material suffers by the inclusion of a song, performed a cappella, that comes across as musically out of place and lyrically contrived. Barring that, Mullins' debut is a valiant effort worth the forthcoming praise. In her title track, she weaves together childlike verses, referring to cookies and sweets, with haunting vocal layering against the backdrop of a clinking mbira. From its refreshing lyrics to the quaint sound of the banjo, "The Mouse" is equally charming. The song brings the Brooklyn songstress right into your living room, turning an accomplished Mullins, who studied classical singing at Northwestern University and sang opera abroad, into Katie the girl next door, gabbing about mice and men over coffee. Pastoral is as unassuming as it is ambitious. Bare arrangements and simple melodies are offset by a voice so rich that even her "ooohs" come out sounding sophisticated. (Independent)