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MISS QUINCY Like The Devil Does Miss Quincy MQ002 (2012)

Miss Quincy

Miss Quincy's 'Like The Devil Does' is an album that tries hard to evoke a lived in rootsy blues feel but narrowly fails if only because her voice is more suited to country ballads than low down tales of 'Going Down'

This is an album full of well crafted songs which are intuitively played and topped by a decent vocal performance. But the main down side is that the Canadian's resonant vocals never veer very far from an unwavering range across 10 tracks that boldly attempt to engage us in several musically related, but disparate musical genres that at the very least require a change of emphasis in phrasing to colour the lyrics.

This is an album that rather than embracing a low down raunchiness is far too earnest to have the kind of convincing autobiographical feel essential to blues related music.

That's not to say that some of the material is anything less than impressive, be it the laid back banjo led languor of 'Til The Money Comes In' or the would be sleaze and nicely ragged feel of 'Dirty Sunday'.

'Like the Devil Does' is an album with bold intentions and aspirations, but it only occasionally sparks into life to explore the imagined low down bar room feel of its narratives.

There are some clever well thought out pieces including the honky tonk piano of 'Silent Movie' which is a superbly polished shuffle with a real retro feel, while the shimmering guitar line and accompanying slide figure of the beautifully paced 'Hurricane' offers a glimpse of the band's soul. Yet while the track smokes and smoulders, much like the album as a whole it stubbornly refuses to either catch fire or at the least fully explore some promising grooves.

The impressive opening title track should set the standard for the rest of the album but though the following 9 tracks try hard they don't quite emulate the intuitive slide and organ interplay of the opener. And having journeyed through an enjoyable but less than essential rootsy journey, Miss Quincy finishes on the strong harmonies and country feel of 'Carmen', a style far better suited to her range than some of the blues pretension before.

'Like The Devil Does' is a decent album with some fine instrumental performances and good harmony singing, but at times it almost sounds like revivalism rather than an album of lived in stories. You could imagine Miss Quincy looking back in a few years time and recognising 'Like The Devil Does' as an adventurous album in search of a definitive style. She's undoubtedly got a resonant voice to match her guitar playing and her band has the requisite chops to bring out both the best of her material.

However, though the loosely defined concept of raunchy acoustic roots music is pleasant enough, it doesn't do enough to convince either blues, country or roots fans alike that she's a leading light in any of the three genres.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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