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Sometymes Why

Your Heart is a Glorious Machine – 2009 (Signature Sounds)

Reviewed by Matt Merta

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CDs by Sometymes Why

Sometymes Why's album came out of numerous jam sessions and in-the-rounds performed by members of three respectable bands in the Americana circuit. Ruth Ungar Merenda (The Mammals), Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl) and Aoife O'Donovan (Crooked Still) decided after their success performing live together to record their compositions in an intimate setting at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, N.Y. The result is less than can be expected, although there are a few shining moments.

The opening Aphrodisiaholic, has a great Carly Simon/Phoebe Snow groove thanks to Merenda's bluesy vocals (they also shine on Cold Feet Blues), but the background vocals tend to be distracting rather than harmonizing. In contrast to Merenda, O'Donovan's vocals are breathy, which fits in well with much of the minimalist production of this disc. However, on Glorious Machine, it becomes too quiet, and if it weren't for the liner notes having the lyrics, the listener would be unable to know what she was singing.

All three ladies have equal songwriting credits (along with a very laid-back cover of Concrete Blonde's Joey), and switch off between instruments used on each song. The novelty wears thin by the third or fourth song in, and it feels more like it was recorded by three girls wanting to experiment with their new tape recorder than a solid album release. There are some Be Good Tanyas/Cowboy Junkies vibes on this disc, but not enough to consider a complete listen.