Although ploughing familiar furrows, Coco Hames‘ debut solo disc is a pleasing confection of misty-eyed nostalgia and savvy songwriting that is likely to charm aficionados of the retro pop format. Based in Nashville, the air is inevitably country but the sprinklings of indie sass and 60s pop provide enough colour to elevate it above what is a pretty crowded marketplace.
Listeners on this side of the Atlantic may detect an air of Kirsty MacColl in the Hames’ delivery – not a bad place to start – and, like MacColl, she shares a willingness to step across genres to find the right vehicle for the sentiments herein. So the tightly wound drama of ‘I Do Love You’ sits easily beside the driving ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ (“Things I did before, I don’t do them any more”) which will keep you rockin’ until the next Best Coast album. The country girl side of Hames comes to the fore with the sweet swing of ‘Tennessee Hollow’, while a duet with Deer Tick’s John McCauley on a cover of ‘Tiny Pieces’ (written by Tommy Stinson of The Replacements) has a degree of swagger and punch perhaps lacking elsewhere – and is the one nod to her time with garage rockers The Ettes.
If you need one more reason to add this to your ‘to do’ list, it’s the earnest way Hames sells the project. Coco Hames doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but while it’s playing, you’ll believe in her and this enjoyable collection.