Music Reviews
Come Get Some

Willis Come Get Some

(679) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

Dropping her first name (leading to Gary Coleman-esque speculations), singer/songwriter Willis has garnered high degrees of praise from many quarters, with her earthy, natural blues style inviting comparisons with such genre founders as Bessie Smith or Janis Joplin. Favouring a stripped-down approach to her instrumental backing, Willis croons out an entirely original set of raw folk-blues, mixing in rock and tribal influences at will.

This album comes so close to matching the hype and the adulation of Willis' celebrity fans, yet falls short at the final, and most important, hurdle. Much has been made of the rootsy honesty of her voice, yet on record this rarely grips the listener like it might in a live situation. That's not to say the songs aren't good enough: some of them are downright superb (Oh Brother springs immediately to mind), nor is it decrying the excellent and tight band. It's just that in the final reckoning, the emotional depth is not portrayed consistently enough. Oh, its there in places, but I like to see an unwavering sincerity in a record that makes such grand claims of itself.

Many people say that scat, or other wordless expressions, convey much more depth and emotion than preconceived lyrics ever could, but in this case, I'm forced to disagree. You can only take so many "oom-bah-bah"s before you realise that nothing is being said either specifically or abstractly, and you start crying out for a bit of verbal expression. Sometimes the repetitive groove is enough to carry the song, as in Paper And Stone, but largely the outcome is that you don't feel moved or enriched by the record. For me, this is such a vital part of a singer/songwriter's job that it cannot be overlooked.

If this review reads particularly harshly, that wasn't the intention. I was very impressed by parts of this record: when the songwriting and the delivery come off, the effect is superb. A number of songs are genuinely fantastic, and where Willis' voice is used with all the power it is undoubtedly capable of, you could be listening to an indisputable classic. The problem is the inconsistency, and that will tarnish every view of this record.

So, must try harder. The potential is there for great things, but a little more semantic expression, a little more conviction, and a little more quality control would help things along even further.