Highlights: No One To Call, Waitin’, Only A Clown, Silver Sings, Menagerie
I missed out on the lady’s 2010’s debut, but after hearing The Stand-In I realise it may have been a terrible oversight. The Stand-In is such a wonderful album. From sparkling, lush production to masterful, confident songwriting – this is alternative country with attitude. Romantic, but also desperate and bittersweet.
Above all, though, this is a pop record, and a ridiculously consistent one at that. One catchy, expertly sung (Caitlin’s voice has all the romantic edge you need from this kind of music) track after another. Sentimental, almost old-fashioned ballads like “Pink Champagne” get mingled with uptempo pop gems like the irresistible “Menagerie”. Mostly, though, you get something in between – like my personal favourite, “Only A Clown”, that tightens its grip on you with its opening slide guitar and never lets go. A sad song dressed in upbeat, faux-happy clothing, it’s an undeniable classic. Caitlin does that on “Silver Sings” (which starts like a George Harrison song - or am I confusing it with something else?), another one of the album's numerous highlights. It’s also great to know she penned them both all by herself. Impressive.
Classy, stylish album – just check out the closing, authentic-sounding “Old Numbers” that you could probably hear at a cabaret half a century ago. Hell, maybe earlier. And again, I’m pleased with how consistent it all this. Even the songs that sounded unremarkable initially (“Golden Boy”, for instance) have revealed themselves as strong, memorable, articulate. I really can’t praise this album enough; that’s a high 8. Highly recommended.