Sallie Ford / Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside

Summer

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Releasing a five-song EP that opens with an instrumental and ends with a cover is practically the definition of a holding action from a band on the rise, and this EP seems to exist mainly to give Sallie Ford's fans something to hold on to while she and her band plot their next move, whatever that may be. But even though Summer doesn't feel like a major effort, this is 15 minutes of fun that demonstrates what Ford and the Sound Outside do very well. Jeffrey Munger's guitar work is solid, concise, and fittingly raunchy, while Ford Tennis' drumming and Tyler Tornfelt's basslines add the right amount of body and personality to the music without getting too fancy for their own good, and on the surf-styled opener "The Eagle Has Landed," they get the stage to themselves for a change and sound like they're having lots of fun kicking up some dust. But Ford is the star of this show, and she shows off her full-bodied vocal style -- sly, sassy, sexy, and just a bit vulnerable -- to her best advantage on three new originals, the raucous "Bumpin'," the high-attitude "F*** That," and the lightly downbeat "Lips n Hips." And even if Ford & the Sound Outside are far from the first act to cover Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World," they approach it with fire and feeling, and Ford gives the lyrics a woman's touch that serves the song quite well. With just five songs in 15 minutes, Summer lacks the impact of Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside's first two albums, but it's a nice appetizer for fans, and shows again why Ford is one of the best and most interesting singers on the scene today.

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