Although she is defined as alternative/indie rock, Jolie Holland shifts across folk, country, jazz, and a little blues. With “Wine Dark Sea,” her sixth album since her debut “Catalpa” in 2003, Holland reaches her best sound so far with deeply emotional and slightly old-fashioned songs.
Each song is raw and unique, trying a little too hard at times to be very significant. This album displays a marked change in Holland’s style; she breaks away from an underlying country feel to something a little looser, freer. However, the best songs can be found in the natural “The Love You Save” and “First Sign of Spring,” in which Holland seems to relax her voice and just let out something beautiful and catchy.
Plastered as “cutting-edge” and “bold,” “Wine Dark Sea” is simply a change in Holland’s M.O. She merely reached a little further outside her comfort zone and her fans’ comfort zone. This album is fun, it keeps Holland’s music alive and exciting. The change is a risk many artists refuse to take, but it will be what makes Holland last. It isn’t utterly ground-breaking; Holland’s latest music, a mixture of slurred words, blues, and three guitars, is an acquired new taste.
Grade: B PLUS
Does anyone else notice how there are ZERO specifics ...