Musicians continue to belly up to the bar for a glass of something real served in a vintage glass with a retro umbrella and a contemporary kick. At best, that’s how art’s made (the Beatles and the Rolling Stones); at its worst, it’s fashion plates find their moment of fame. But most lie somewhere in-between.
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs (or Brokeoff – there’s only one other person in the group) once again don the shabby/chic clothes of hillfolk on the recent No Help Coming (Transdreamer), where the ramshackle sound of acoustic instruments and around-the-hovel percussion give her songs life and energy. Modernity pokes its oily head into the mix courtesy of an electric guitar that distorts in a number of sonically familiar ways and the songs themselves, which drop in and out of the period vocabulary. The title song’s timeless, as are such tunes as the love folk tune “River of Tears” and the acoustic blues of “The Whole Day Long.” On the other hand, “The Rest of Your Life” has more in common with the Shangri-Las than the Carter Family, and “Burn O’ Junk Pile Burn” is a pail-footed tango.
The vintage/not vintage character of her art is – appropriately – a big deal and nothing at all. It’s an instrumentation and lyrical set that give her imagination a framework, but it’s a reach to connect wardrobe and instrumentation choices to any larger statement. They help her get to a series of fun songs played with a fair degree of enthusiasm, and that’s good enough.