Mary Karlzen's voice is an acquired taste. It's thin and girlish, and the singer/songwriter often sounds shrill. But her voice has a way of growing on you -- the more one listens to Yelling at Mary, the more one realizes that she does have a certain charm. Karlzen wrote most of the songs on this CD, which favors an earthy and rootsy approach to pop/rock, Americana, and folk-rock. Karlzen's voice might be overly cutesy at times, but her lyrics show her to be a substantial storyteller. The evocative "St. James Hotel" vividly paints a picture of the Old West and an American town near the Mexican border, while "Dimestore Life" finds a small-town teen-ager longing to travel and see more of the world -- only to end up going back home at 31 with a newfound appreciation of the town she once found boring. Like Bruce Springsteen, Karlzen has a knack for embracing songs that equate traveling or hitting the road with improving your life-- "Anywhere Is Better Than Here" and "Another Town, Another Place" find her trying to cope with heartbreak by leaving town. This isn't to say that Karlzen is in a class with Springsteen, only that she uses his influence to her advantage. Not magnificent but certainly enjoyable, Yelling at Mary is worth acquiring if you're a fan of Americana and roots rock.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson