Published Feb 14, 2014Lydia Loveless rocks this, her barnburner of a third full album. While there's a Stevie Nicks-ish vulnerability to her voice that beckons for macho protection, she also sounds like she'd probably kick a man's ass for trying. As tough as nails, and a terrific songwriter, Loveless' brand of alt-country errs on the side of rock more often than not. Throughout the record, her tight four-piece band sneaks moments of Gang of Four guitar grittiness into a pastiche of Pretenders-in-middle-America grooves.
Reputedly, Loveless hates being compared to Neko Case because Case was not an influence, but there's a similarity in their heart-on-sleeve songwriting and their take-no-BS postures (though Loveless might be even more prone to cussin' through her feelings than Case).
Radio might love songs like "Head," "Wine Lips" and "To Love Somebody," but the ample expletives may keep them off playlists. Still, her tasty cover of Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" could well get Loveless the wider exposure she deserves.
The production on Somewhere Else is crisp and clean (though they could have pushed Loveless' distinctive voice slightly more out front). Lyrically, Loveless (who is married to bass player Ben Lamb) writes freely (and caustically) about relationship agonies, which raises the question of how personal this material actually is, and if it is, how it feels to her husband to hear her sing disparagingly of him night after night.
Luckily for us, we get to enjoy the artist's struggle at a distance, and it sounds pretty good from here.
Read an interview with Lydia Loveless here. (Bloodshot)