Sally Louise's full-length debut album celebrates self-empowerment |  Music reviews

click to enlarge

The songwriter Sally Drutman, who has become an opera singer and indie singer, appeared to be a sudden appearance last July when she released her dreamy first single “Milky Blue” as Sally Louise. Less than a year later, Louise wasted no time expanding her style palette to include an extensive collection of 10 self-obsessed songs with “My Hands Are On Fire,” available May 14th through Desert Flower Records.

On this full-length debut album (increasingly rare itself as more and more artists are releasing singles and EPs), it’s impressive how quickly Louise has settled into her compositional identity: a flowing elixir of pop, soul, folk – and in the case of “I won’t name your bluff” she even uses elements of 50s doo wop.

But none of this would work if Louise weren’t also a confident singer whose classical training gives her a high level of pitch security and effortless intonation. There are straightforward, catchy songs like “Bodily Exile” – a hymn of self-realization and liberation with four chords – and the slightly contemptuous pop-rock melody “Sighs”, but it also stretches out and floats on more vocal tracks like “Honey” Hold On “and” Never be the same again “.

Regardless of the song, Louise sings with conviction, as if every phrase contains a cathartic new revelation. “Honey Hold On” is particularly exciting because the singer accompanies herself on the electric guitar and gives a former lover a passive, aggressive farewell that reflects the feeling of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”: shadow mine Hair on the floor Didn’t sleep very well by the door without your shoes? / And at the same time, all these pills haven’t reached my core / honey, I hope you hold on tonight. ”

There are brief flirts with gospel music throughout the album, including “Yoli’s Shoes,” an understated ode to self-empowerment that uses quasi-choral textures with uplifting results. Sally Louise is supported on various tracks by Jordan Rabinowitz on bass and drummer Chris Palace. But in terms of emotional response, the singer-songwriter does more in moments with less instrumentation, when her vocal sincerity and technical prowess are in the spotlight.

Sally Louise will play her album release show with Siena and Lily Bogas on Friday May 14th at 8pm at Jurassic Farms, 110 Weidner St., Rochester. $ 5 (outdoor event, masks required).

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s art editor. He can be reached at