When I started ninebullets.net I really didn’t listen to too many woman singers. It wasn’t a conscious decision, really, so much as habit. Eilen Jewell was one of the singers that helped break that habit with her 2008 effort, Letters From Sinners And Strangers. When I read on songs:illinois that she was changing her sound on Sea Of Tears I got a little worried. Why mess with a good thing I wondered. Her last cd was perfect for damned near every mood and occasion.
With great trepidation I put the new cd in my car stereo.
Huuuuge exhale. Turns out she didn’t remake her sound so much as tweak it a little here and there. The results are just as powerful as her last album. Powerful and melancholy with a little bit of a 50’s rock and roll / surf rock added to the background. The standout track (as well as title track), “Sea of Tears”, really drives this new sound home and could easily be a song Travolta and Thurman would have danced to in Pulp Fiction. To contrast the rock of “Sea Of Tears” is the jazzy brooding of “Final Hour”, while the ode to codeine, “Codeine Arms”, bridges the gap between the two.
By the end of Sea of Tears a couple of things are obvious. One, there really isn’t anyone out there doing what Eilen does, and if there is please tell me who they are. Two, this album will be on many a year-end Top 10 list, and with that said, three; this album is Essential Listening, so buy it come April 21.