Kris Delmhorst

Five Stories

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A number of singer/songwriters forget something essential when they begin their inward glance: Music needs to have catchy hooks and pleasant melodies in order to stick with the listener. Kris Delmhorst doesn't make that mistake. "Damn Love Song" and "Broken White Line" are likable before one has even bothered to read the lyric sheet. The seductively soulful "Honeyed Out" warns against activities -- fun though they may be -- that tempt one to excess, while "Lullaby 101" offers a quiet, pleasing note to close the album on. The graceful "Words Fail You" begins slowly, falling into a comfortable, almost forgettable groove, when an organ and a minor chord push the song toward something distinct. Five Stories encompasses a number of styles and moods, from the country boogie of "Cluck Old Hen" to the brooding rock of "Just What I Meant." Delmhorst has an expressive voice, but there's something in her vocals that goes beyond being a "good singer." Perhaps it's intimacy with her self-penned songs that lends a certain glow to her efforts here, or the accompaniment of insightful musicians. Whatever the reason, her vocals are warm and immediately accessible. Every song doesn't work. The extended metaphor of "Yellow Brick Road" is a bit overextended and "Gave It Away," while far from bad, tends to be a bit bland. These are small complaints. Five Stories is a very satisfying album, sure to please fans and anyone who appreciates intelligent songwriters.

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