On the band’s full-length debut As The Crow Flies, Spokane, WA-based Mama Doll deliver a solid collection of visceral folk songs brimming with wry, concise observations delivered via haunting melodies. Part of a resurgent folk music scene in the Northwest United States, the band play a brand of Americana that’s rootsy without being nostalgic. Far from safe-teen-birthday pop, Mama Doll arrive at the party playing dirty and shooting straight.
“Sirens” opens the proceedings with the dueling accapella voices of Austen Case and Sarah Berentson before settling into a familiar groove that underplays the brief song’s thematic weight. Aided by appropriately atmospheric reverb, Case and Berentsonis’ vocals anchor the whole record in a way that is devastatingly honest, never overtly sacharrine and always on-point. “Warm Bodies” builds pleasingly courtesy of a slinky bass line delivered by Jen Landis (also of Cedar & Boyer, Harold’s IGA) while first-single “Rumors” is elegantly memorable even as the narrator of the song expresses agnosticism toward romantic love. “I’ve heard rumors that the sun loves the moon/I just don’t think that’s true,” she says.
The album production is first rate for an indie act, “Lovin'” cruises along on the strength of expertly mixed vintage piano, bass and drums while “Sad Song” is pure jazz-guitar-toned waltz bliss. Fresh off a late summer west coast tour, Mama Doll have delivered a debut lp that leaves very little room for improvement. With musical climate change in full bloom, here’s to hoping rising ocean levels can carry As The Crow Flies to new audiences, at least long enough to get us a second Mama Doll record.
Buy As the Crow Flies at Mama Doll Bandcamp site
Official site MamaDollMusic.com