REVIEW: Cortney Tidwell, Don’t Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up, Ever

Posted March 13th, 2007 by eric

Getting a shitty burned CD in the mail is not a good way to make it to the stereo. But for some reason I put this one in, and I listened to it all the way through. And then I immediately had to go look up everything I could learn about Cortney Tidwell.

She’s from Nashville Tennessee- the daughter of country singer, but she has little to nothing in common with that city’s claim to fame. Her tendencies are far more underground, showcasing her idiosyncratic weirdness. At first her voice and tone reminded me of a less elfish and bizarre Joanna Newsome, but she has a subtle ferocity when she punches things up a notch.

Her music permeates a constant melancholia with washes of guitar and severe, kraut-ish keyboards. Her voice is versatile and strange in its own way, sounding airy and slightly girlish one moment and then frantic and eerie the next, especially when it’s layered and multi-tracked. Tidwell balances a mystical folk with the less clichéd trappings of indie rock, which make for a shockingly original sound. There are audible cues from Sigur Ros to The Sundays, but Tidwell does an excellent job of flaunting her individuality.

Despite the orchestrated, often complicated arrangements, Tidwell is no stranger to hooks. Her voice pierces through the gauzy malaise effortlessly. The production is a mass of contradictions, as it mixes electronic flourishes with sparse, organic instrumentation. Tidwell is clearly some sort of prodigy to come out of the gate so strong. This is an astounding collection of songs that seep into your skin and haunt you for days.

Tags: album-review · new release