You may recognise Lissie Maurus from YouTube, most likely from her cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’, in which she rehabilitates Metallica’s most cringeworthy lighter-baiting moment by virtue of a burnished soul voice that makes James Hetfield’s legendary canine howl sound like a Handy Vac. The country-folk songstress from Rock Island is now the reigning Queen of Beardburg, but this album is likely to propel her into the hallowed crossover territories.
In case you’re unfamiliar with her work, Maurus proffers a very different, and clearly very American, take on the same hodgepodge of analogue soul, ’60s girl-group melody and melancholy blues as popularised by the Adeles, Duffys and Amys of this latitude. Maurus has drawn comparisons with Stevie Nicks, and providing you transpose Nicks into the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, there may well be something to those allusions.
The songs here are elegantly composed, trimmed of excess and arranged precisely to showcase Lissie’s truly spectacular voice. It’s an instrument that Lissie is laudably able to show off without showing off, although there are times when you wish she had a little more to work with. Tracks like ‘Cuckoo’ leave the listener wishing she had more to do, but let’s face it, that’s a problem we wish more albums had.