erasing clouds

Breakfast with Holly Golightly

review by matthew webber

Holly Golightly, Truly She Is None Other (Damaged Goods)

Holly Golightly was born in the wrong decade.

For starters, the British singer/songwriter shares the same name as Audrey Hepburn's free-spirited Breakfast at Tiffany's character. Plus, in an era when other female singer/songwriters discuss their gargantuan choruses and echo sound effects with uber-producers the Matrix over breakfast, Golightly produces her own rock/blues/folk records on decades-old recording equipment. Her choruses are more like the White Stripes' Elephant album than they are elephantine huge, which explains why Jack White loves her.

The White Stripes introduced Golightly and her unforgettable voice to America on their Elephant singalong "It's True That We Love Another." Holly may not really "love Jack White like a little brother," but she certainly loves his influences: raunchy blues/rock, rootsy folk, and any other music played with passion and integrity.

On her first new album in two years, Truly She Is None Other, Golightly mixes the driving backbeat of blues or rock with the sweet melodies of folk, adding a dash of trademark English wit. The resulting blend is as smooth and warm as a mug of afternoon tea.

Despite or maybe because of the disparate sounds that inspired it, Truly She Is None Other never sounds derivative, or anything other than delectable. The opening track and single, "Walk A Mile," warns a listener that being Holly Golightly -- or being able to write a song so powerful in its apparent simplicity -- is not as easy as it seems.

The themes of most of the other songs -- including the Kinks covers, "Time Will Tell" and "Tell Me Now So I Know" -- are more universal, as they tell of love and loss, the oldest tale of all.

Golightly's voice is as clear as her lyrical ideas. Truly, she has a voice like none other. Smooth like Dusty Springfield but rough like Jack White, Golightly is to her genre (garage folk?) what Macy Gray is to hers. A woman's voice simply should not sound this bittersweet -- but only because it makes all other woman's voices sound syrupy in contrast.

Golightly shares with White the belief that a half-century of technological advances hasn't improved the sound of music. This album is alive with reverb and feedback and hiss. Golightly recorded five songs at Toe-Rag Studios with Liam Watson, the same place and producer of Elephant. Although the equipment that recorded Truly She Is None Other is forty years old, the album sounds as fresh as tomorrow. Rather than sounding antiquated, the album and Holly sound timeless.

Issue 16, October 2003

this month's issue
about erasing clouds

Copyright (c) 2005 erasing clouds