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Now Hear This: Strange Curses - Laura Paragano

Rating: ****1/2

According to her bio, Laura Paragano has a mouth from Jersey and soul from California. I like that.

San Francisco-based singer-songwriter, Paragano comes to us equipped with a brand new LP called "Strange Curses". It's an autobiographical record that the singer describes as "a literal record of myself. Although I only started writing the songs for the album two years ago, I've been working on this album for much longer. Every song relates to a particular feeling that has viscerally impacted me. Some are very old feelings, and not putting them to words was burning a hole inside of me. It wasn't until recently that I found the right way and right people to externalize these feelings."

Sounds like this one is gonna be deep. I better buckle up.

Watch the video for "3/4" on Youtube here:

Things get started with "Out for a Surf" and it's immediately killer. Sounds like the Pixies with Hope Sandoval singing. Amazing opening track here. "I'm Fine" is solid also. Loses a little bit of the momentum from the opener, but not much. "Can't Give" has a poppier feel, while the single "3/4" is a slower, sadder, ballad. Both are excellent vehicles for Paragano's sultry voice while showcasing the artist's diversity of sound. "And You" is the first track that didn't grab me immediately. It did grow on me after repeated listens though. "California Dreaming" is not a Mama's and Papa's cover. It is, however, a lovely folk tune. The middle portion of the album is definitely a little slower than the opening three tracks. Still rock solid. "Sick" is strong, but "Juliet, Romeo" is the best song on the 2nd half of the album. So catchy. Has a real 10,000 Manicas vibe to it. I would release this is a single. "I'm on Fire" is a Bruce Springsteen and it's killer. It's one of my favorite Springsteen tracks and this does it justice in spades. The last track is "Doom/Strange Curses" and it's dark and rad. Just like this album. Perfect ending really.

If you did Natalie Merchant, you're gonna really dig this new record from Laura Paragano. It's bluesy pop-music with a purpose. She's a gifted singer and writer and I really enjoyed this LP front-to-back. Highly highly recommended.


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