Mary Lorson and Saint Low's Realistic follows the same path as 2002's underrated Tricks for Dawn, featuring as it does achingly pretty and mostly melancholy songs with lush instrumentation and Lorson's sweet but heartfelt vocals. Lorson and her ex-Madder Rose compatriot Billy Coté have improved on that record. The sound is richer and more interesting, the songs are hookier, and overall it is undoubtedly the best record that either of them has been involved in, which is saying something as Madder Rose released many very fine recordings. In a perfect musical world Realistic would vault Lorson to the front ranks of singer/songwriters of both today and yesteryear. It certainly sounds like a classic singer/songwriter record of yesteryear, as Lorson sounds throughout as if she is in touch with her inner Carole King. Piano-driven, catchy, and conversational tunes like "Lonely Boy," "Walking Man," and "Dangerous" wouldn't have sounded out of place on Tapestry or at least, Music. In fact, much of the album has a Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter feel to it, bolstered by Lorson's intimate singing and literate lyrics, and the musicians soft and sympathetic backing. There are also hints of chamber pop thanks to the use of strings and horns, early-'70s pop-country due to the pedal steel that pops up occasionally, and of Madder Rose, especially on the heartbreakingly delicate "Spiders" which sports lyrics destined to cut through vulnerable hearts like a sword. Indeed much of Realistic aims right for the heart. It is powerful enough that in the right mood it could move you to tears. In any mood it is an impressive achievement and an overwhelmingly satisfying listen.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra