Some days are for Def Leppard, and some days are for meandering, melancholy folk tunes about love longed for and lost. On the latter sort of days, Kari Arnett’s debut album, Midwestern Skyline, is the right choice.
It’s all Americana, often underpinned with a gentle twang that brings to mind plaintive country love songs from the past. While Arnett makes a couple forays into more up-tempo sounds, the album shines most when she’s just crooning over her guitar like a woman from a time before heartbreak recovery was hurried along by Tinder.
Her voice is the star attraction here. Flexible and expressive, it’s somehow ethereal and robust at the same time. Listen to “Concrete and Honey” and you’ll see what I mean. (If you’re looking for specific comparisons: Deanna Carter might have sounded like this had she chosen folk over country.)
My favorite tracks are the last three of the album. “Love Someone” sums up what it feels to be the last one loving. “Concrete and Honey” is wistful and pretty. (And appeals to my inordinate fondness for phrases that connect profoundly disparate nouns with conjunctions.) “Wildfires,” the last track, is the best piece of narrative songwriting on the album and makes a lovely showcase for Arnett’s voice.
Album rating: 7.5 out of 10
How to Listen: With candles lit, on the days when you need to be reminded that you’re not the only one in the world who gets sad sometimes.For more music, info and tour dates, visit Arnett’s website. Or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.