Eryn Shewell has the brassy allure of a contemporary artist like Imelda May or Joss Stone, and road-tested moxie of Susan Tedesci. She can play it sweet and sexy like on “Fall,” or get down and dirty like on “Suck it Up,” without missing a beat. It’s very much a natural talent rather than a forced one.
Every song on her self-titled album is catchy with a nod toward bubblegum simplicity, but that’s a very good thing! Underneath all that is an undeniably engaging band that helps to create some of the coolest mojo. Melodic and bouncy, they mix rock strength with pure pop arrangements that will make a lasting impression. There are a few sprightly pop delights like “Boy like You” and “Relax to Sleep,” but the songs undercurrents are very impressionable.
“Afraid of the Dark,” swings the The Camaros (cool girl-fronted retro-swing band), and a The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies mash-up. But what sends this tune over the moon is Eryn’s enlivened vocals.-Maximum mojo! “High School Sweetheart” ( it has a sweet slide guitar riff that is so much fun to listen to), and “Backseat Romance Forecast” both have energy and excitement of 70’s freeform radio that is hard to come by these days without sounding phony or forced.
Eryn helped produce and pen most of the album. Sometimes that’s like a disaster waiting to happen, but on her self-titled album the songs are ambitious, melodic, and concise. This is an album chock full of singles as compared to one that may have one or two good songs, and all the rest filler. This is world-class hit making, and is extraordinary uncommercial. A balance that is rarely achieved these days.
Eryn Shewell and her band play like anything is possible, especially for anyone who was always on the outside looking in. They’re able to put the sound in their heads on plastic, sounds that weren’t just “Pure Pop for Now People” (a Nick Lowe album title), but pure pop for hit radio-in the most sincere, uncynical and popularly resonating tradition. They are so engaged and inspired; it’s a synthesis in ways that few other bands can consistently sustain. And through all of that, the band maintains a distinctive group identity. It’s only fair to note that many others wet their musical toes in the same exotic waters only after Eryn Shewell and her band set the precedent. Moreover, they largely pursue their commercial and artistic goals in nonconformist fashion. Their effervesces with which they stitch together a multiplex of genres is as much professional as it is homegrown. They also cover Tom Waits’ “I Wish I Was in New Orleans.” Not since Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes has anyone come as close to staying within Waits’ song character and also giving it a fresh coat of paint. In a word-coolness!
With talent, easy confidence and self-deflating humor, the colorful Shewell will win countless hearts and minds, injecting warmth, graciousness, and good, lasting songs into a mega-pop world.