Pale Mara

Pale Mara

Independent release, 2018

http://www.palemara.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/01/2019

The Brooklyn duo of Allison Robinson and Lee Godleski are Pale Mara, and while the pair may reside in the ultra-hip borough that's a breeding ground for unusual genres, their sounds are more traditional and aligned with folk and country. While Pale Mara's first EP in 2016 was primarily just the two, this debut release finds David Kamerer, Thea Garlid, and David Ulrich (who contributed on Pale Mara's earlier work) in attendance. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Not Like I Used To” starts the album with gentle strumming and vocal harmonies between Godleski and Robinson, while keys and a throwback atmosphere set the mood for the remainder. “Bird” follows with Robinson's pipes taking center stage while being supported by piano. This one foreshadows the amount of substance included, especially on the nostalgic tracks such as the retro folk rock of “I Think I Am A Phoenix” where breezy rhythm and calm atmosphere radiate amid the jangly guitars. “Only Say It If You Mean It” also takes us back in time, though this time to the early days of country with twang and the pristine vocals from Robinson.

Primarily a sparse, mid-tempo affair, “Sun POV Song” is a busy folk rocker with bright guitar work and shows much skill at louder volumes for the outfit, while the bare, soulful “My Curse With The Canvas” is sublime balladry. Elsewhere, the outfit explores psych pop influences on “Blue Dream,” which is one of the most adventurous tracks present.

It's not hard to think of The Byrds, Joni Mitchell or even The Beatles when listening to the crisp, timeless Americana from Pale Mara, which could never be a bad thing. A band that sounds like they could have existed in any decade since the '60s, Pale Mara on their debut album could convince me that they will be the next sensation in Americana – it's that good.

Rating: A-

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