Du Blonde – Welcome Back To Milk
Beth Jeans Houghton's transformation from screwy troubadour to her new alter-ago is surely standard issue music career car crash, right? Think again: Du Blonde is a triumph on nearly every level and her new MO (in short – loud guitars, rage) is a blast. Hunter is tremendous, a hefty soul ballad whose classic form, you suspect, could quench the mainstream's current thirst for originals re-fitted with modern production slicks.
When she steps it down on this and the Orbison-esque Black Magic, it's no surprise to learn that Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos is on production duties. As on his recent work with New Jersey chanteuse Nicole Atkins, his unfussy arrangements give his charge room to breathe. In Du Blonde's case, fire. When, on Four In The Morning, she roars "Shut the fuck up and let me bore you / I'm not sure I adore you," it's a potent reminder that watching a hungry artist at play remains one of life's great joys. [Gary Kaill]