Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs – Coulda Shoulda Woulda (ALBUM REVIEW)

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holly golightly couldaA partnership with Lawyer Dave that began back in 2007, Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs is the project that suits the multi-talented Holly Golightly best. Their newest record Coulda Shoulda Woulda finds the duo continuing to evolve their sound, a handful of records in. That signature rockabilly spirit lives on, but Woulda is refined, amped-up rock and roll.

Though she’s been known for her cheeky sense of humor and not taking herself too seriously, Woulda sounds like one of Golightly’s most sophisticated, mature records yet. Her vocals are soft and sweet, and she uses them thoughtfully. Whether she is taking harmony duties on “Karate”, a follow-the-leader dance instructional that’s got both silliness and swagger and sounds like a barnyard sock hop, or floating through the breezy ballad “What He Does”, about a no-good cheater who’s bad news. “He’s only happy when he’s caught dickin’ around,” she sings, imparting some age-old country gal wisdom on another of his conquests. “He’ll charm you/He’s hard to refuse/And then he’ll come on home/That’s what he’ll do/No you don’t wanna hear it/You don’t wanna see,” she continues. It is so pretty for such a sad tune, and you’ve never heard Golightly sound so lovely.

“Jackhammer” similarly displays Golightly’s voice at its best, controlled and enchanting. A song about revelation (“I was blind/I just opened my eyes”), it’s one of Woulda’s prettiest with its Spanish guitar motifs.

Lawyer Dave has a significant presence on Woulda, showing off his excellent vocal chops, too. “Karate” and the standout “Jump in the River” show off Dave’s sexy growl, and the latter combines it with epic electric guitars giving it a big arena-style rock sound. This tune is practically made for singing along to with its repetitive “Jump in the river and drown” chorus. And “No Judgement Day” follows suit, with its soulful chorus and bluesy Americana sheen.

Still, when Golightly and Dave come together, their energy and chemistry is undeniable. They are funny and twisted and twangy, and they complement each other like old friends. The duo shine on “Heaven Buy and Buy”, spitting out vocals like they’re speaking in tongue. The gospel-inspired tune is a straight adrenaline shot right to the vein, and listening to them praise together alongside rollicking guitars is bliss. This song hits you like a fierce gust of wind.

“Lonesome Grave” and “Marijuana, The Devil’s Flower” have that signature Golightly and Dave sound, with clucking banjo and warm, but grim fiddle. The call and answer and menacing harmonies on “Lonesome Grave” make it one of Woulda’s darkest, and along with the sketchy drug deals happening on “Apt. 34”, Golightly proves that we’re still hearing her as the same bad ass trickster we have long known and loved, no matter who she’s making music with. Woulda brings out the best of both of these dynamic artists who have continued to be a match made in heaven.

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