There’s little doubt: I was avoiding Pastoral. I don’t know who Puppini Sisters are (UPDATE: The Puppini Sisters, whom count Kate Mullins, not the Katie Mullins being reviewed here, as part of their band, are a group specializing in 1940s-style interpretations of modern songs, which sounds AWESOME); I don’t know who the FUCK Lucinda Black Bear is, nor do I know who Katie Mullins, herself, is.
What to do?
Thing is, most of Pastoral is fairly solid. (In unrelated news, I’m thinking about Dan Fogelberg‘s “Leader of the Band” right now and feeling quite yearnsome; LISTEN FOR YOURSELF and tell me you don’t feel the same way.)
Mullins fares best when she strays from the farcical gal-and-her-guitar-get-intimate stuff and goes off on her Mbira, as she does on the second and fifth songs (I can’t find a tracklisting for this goddamn thing anywhere, but the above MP3 is an example of one of Mullins’ better songs), taking advantage of the participation of Kristin Mueller and Andrew Spencer Goldman (again, I have no the-FUCK idea who these people are).
I’m delighted to admit I liked this as much as I did. I even enjoyed the acapella tune someone else panned in an online review I read today.
Toss Liz Janes, Tori Amos, Til Tuesday, Tracy Chapman, Laura Nyro, Judee Sill and a few others in a blender and … oh, you get the idea. Solid.