KRIS DELMHORST > Shotgun Singer

These days Kris Delmhorst is getting pretty playful with the singer/songwriter form. Two years ago she parlayed e.e. cummings’ and Walt Whitman’s poetry into vivid, jazzy, string band-ish numbers on Strange Conversation. Now she’s changed directions again, shifting emphasis from a song’s lyric to its all-encompassing mood.Label: Signature┬áSounds
Rating: ★★★½☆

These days Kris Delmhorst is getting pretty playful with the singer/songwriter form. Two years ago she parlayed e.e. cummings’ and Walt Whitman’s poetry into vivid, jazzy, string band-ish numbers on Strange Conversation. Now she’s changed directions again, shifting emphasis from a song’s lyric to its all-encompassing mood. Not that Delmhorst has ever been one to leave her words unclothed by interesting music, but the hole-up-in-a-cabin-with-some-gear approach she took this time yielded something noticeably more intimate, all the more so since she let small imperfections lie. On several of Shotgun Singer’s 12 tracks she lets her easy, sultry alto slide into hazy sonic reveries and all but submerge there. The gentle patchwork of sounds on “Blue Adeline” (a hovering melody and blooping drum loop), “Heavens Hold the Sun” (whirs, pings and chant-like vocals) and “Kiss It Away” (a modal meditation set to a tribal pulse) are positively hypnotic. These songs might not stand as well on their own, but assembled in this way they cast a pleasing spell.