Lake Street Dive don't sound anything like a band you'd hear in a dive. They're a bright, bubbly pop-jazz quartet and write songs that would fit perfectly on an AAA, lite jazz, or adult contemporary station. According to standup bass player Bridget Kearney, they got together to play avant-garde country music in a Loretta Lynn-meets-Ornette Coleman style, but soon put such high-falutin' concepts aside in favor of the smooth, playful, slightly retro sound that's made them a presence on the Boston music scene. In person they usually play acoustically, but on this, their third album and national debut, friends and relations join in playing horns, fiddles, organ, piano, and accordion. "Hello? Goodbye!" encapsulates the band's appeal with drummer Michael Calabrese and bassist Kearney laying down a hesitant samba-like pulse and Mike Olson's trumpet weaving through the mix to support Rachel Price's nonchalant vocal. The melody sounds like a hit you've already heard a million times, with an irresistible hook that embeds itself in your brain and makes you hit the replay button. "Henriette" is a bluesy rocker with a strong guitar hook and a galloping rhythm augmented by Kearney's slapping rockabilly bass; midway through they break and Kearney turns in a strong jazzy solo. Price shows off her bluesy side and channels her inner Janis Joplin on "Don't Make Me Hold Your Hand," a showcase for her world-weary phrasing and guest Eric Lane's Hammond B-3, and "Got Me Fooled," which builds to a powerful climax thanks to Lane's B-3 and the soul-deep groove laid down by Kearney and Calabrese. On the quiet side you've got simmering torchy numbers like "My Heart's in Its Right Place"; "Funny Not to Care," with an inventive rhythm arrangement that opens with dark, sinister processed drums and bass; and "My Speed," which features a guest vocal from Jesse Dee and a solid, searing R&B guitar solo from Boston-based country-rock guitarist Lyle Brewer.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by j. poet