Saint Low

Best known as the vocalist for the Madder Rose, Mary Lorson has accumulated quite a catalog of her own material. A quick listen to this CD will reveal why these songs were better held for a solo release. Instead of the textured walls of psychotropic guitar sound of Madder Rose, these songs are sultry and passionate, a smoldering collection of torch songs that borrow heavily from the age of jazz. Such songs fit in perfectly with Lorson's pure voice that sounds like the girl next door, only sexier, a playfully seductive voice that can make a young man fall in love and make a fool of himself.

"Johnson City" is a prime example of the songs on this album with Lorson singing an aching melody in two-part harmony over a sedated mamboish rhythm that reeks of a melancholy memory, a song to slow dance close to. Equally smoky is "Crash", a smoldering song that evokes images of dimly lit nightclubs and those huge 40's microphones. "Only One", with it's infectious up-tempo melody and layered guitars is the only song that could fit on a Madder Rose album. My personal favorite is "On The Outside", a song of loss and alienation with an emotive violin line that permeates the song like a solitary tear moving down a beautiful face. The melody in this song, as in the others, seems intended to rend the heart of the listener. Overall, this album helps prove that Lorson is more than just a singer. The melodies are fresh and haunting and the entire "confessional song" feel of the album draws the listener into a secret confidence, an imaginary nightclub in the 40s where Mary is singing to you alone.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, July 2000.