On The Mirror, former Everybodyfields vocalist Jill Andrews shines a light on her poppy side. Country and folk music, which formed the foundation of the Everybodyfields’ records, are still the cornerstones of this solo debut, but they’re joined by a newfound emphasis on -- for lack of a better term -- pastoral chick rock. Andrews no longer sounds like Gillian Welch; instead, she carves out a Laura-Veirs-meets-Lilith-Fair sound filled with swirling keyboards, harmony vocals, and pop hooks. The countryside is evoked -- you can hear it in the small-town shuffle of “Sinking Ship,” the acoustic fingerpicking of “Blue Eyes,” the way guitarist/vocalist Josh Oliver (a holdover from the Everybodyfields days) harmonizes with Andrews in a twangy tenor -- but The Mirror also sports the coffee house-cosmopolitan feel of a Sara Bareilles album, with less piano and more brushed percussion. It’s a sound that suits Jill Andrews well. Working without former partner Sam Quinn for the first time, she sings about isolation and heartbreak without turning the entire affair into a down-in-the-dumps sob fest, and songs like “Another Man” tackle bittersweet themes with bright, layered arrangements. “You got a way of making things hard,” she sings over egg shakers and a major-key piano progression, “and I’ve got a way of putting your things out in the yard.” The orchestration can get dense at times, but Andrews peels it back often, proving she can still sell a song with her voice and acoustic guitar alone.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey