It took me quite a few listens to Carolee’s debut 12-inch to stop paying attention to her guitar. To be honest, I never actually stopped, but I have finally started listening to everything else. Turns out, if you pay close enough attention, these five quick songs are filled with curving hooks, vein-filling beats and entrancingly-sung words. But I still have to concentrate pretty hard to get there, because all my ears want to do is drown themselves in Carolee’s guitar. There’s something so eye-opening and face-slapping about the sound of her slicing chords– they cut through the songs like a morning clock-alarm chopping into your dreams.

Those chords first woke me up via a cassette Carolee sent me, and they were plenty bracing then. Now that Bob Weston has mastered them for this 12-inch, they sound even brighter and sharper, as if he’s held up a mirror to them that multiplies and focuses their effect. Add elusive lyrics that hint at emotions and situations and struggles but refuse to lock themselves into specifics, and melodies that evoke some of the best non-sell-out pop of the past couple decades-– no need to name names, you’ll know it when you hear it– and you’ve got a whirlwind set of songs that may last less than 10 minutes, but ends up way longer once you’ve finally resisted the urge to move the tone arm back to the beginning. My advice is to do like my ears, and stop resisting.

Marc Masters, Washington DC, Summer 2011