3.5 out of 5 Stars
Nobody’s Girl | Nobody’s Girl | (Lucky Hound Music)
If one voice is potent, then three must pack triple the punch.
That’s the concept behind Nobody’s Girl, the Austin-based Texas trio of singing/songwriting women, all of whom had robust, if not overwhelmingly popular, solo careers before joining forces. It worked for the higher-profile members of The Pistol Annies and The Chicks, so why shouldn’t the lesser-known likes of Betty Soo, Rebecca Loebe, and Grace Pettis give it a whirl?
The threesome, who tested the waters in 2018 with an EP that had a degree of commercial success, now returns with this pre-pandemic full-length LP. Despite the Austin home base, their music isn’t country or roots-oriented. Rather, it’s indebted to the West Coast pop style of later Fleetwood Mac and Carole King’s glistening songcraft. The latter is honored with a lovely version of her composition “So Far Away,” one of the disc’s two covers and a tune whose lyrics coincidentally reflect life during COVID times. Eight of the nine remaining selections are co-written by all the participants (two are repeated but re-recorded from the earlier release), which speaks to the women’s camaraderie and interpersonal chemistry.
The standard blueprint of one singer taking lead as the others join for ringing, memorable choruses doesn’t make these tunes any less enjoyable. The lack of rough edges to this subtle yet sweepingly melodic set is also not an issue. From the opening “Kansas,” where a high school rebel leaves her strict home for a wilder existence, referencing The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, to the closing acoustic, bittersweet “Lark,” the songs often reflect women finding their wings and changing for the better.
Nobody’s Girl’s voices harmonize skillfully and naturally, dovetailing with the exquisitely crafted material. Having veteran backing musicians provide professional polish to soulful pop that never feels excessively slick or overproduced helps this project sparkle with three times the shimmer and shine.