Bethany Larson - Sticks And Stones
Minneapolis Singer-Songwriter Bethany Larson takes few chances on this self-released debut, but "Sticks and Stones" does offer some deeply felt melodies and a sense of humor that carry her through some of the more clichéd moments.
The opener, "Why Dont You Come Over?" is a lo-fi country ballad by turns stark and majestic; maybe the best song on the record. Here her spare but solid guitar and matter of fact vocals ring true, as do the emotions expressed.
"September Song" reads like a reflective, countrified Stones tale of wisdom beyond one's years, while "But I Love Him" ‘s whimsical Band-ish tune manages to sound timeless and current at once.
Curiously, the record runs out of steam fast, as Larson saves her weakest tracks for the back end. The title track is an electric rocking tune that does not sound better the more you listen to it; initially it hits you as a brazen little rocker, but ultimately this is alt-country by the numbers. "Forest City, 1985"aims for a hopeful, morning after feel, but is more cloying than cynical and wizened.
"Sticks and Stones" presents Bethany Larson at the beginning of her career, and the record shows more of her influences and live experience than it does her songwriting abilities. Those abilities appear erratically here, but they are there. Some more living, and those vocals and lyrics will ring more true.
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