Having put in the hours on stage to achieve a reputation as an energetic, soulful live performer, Shotgun Tori’s new album carries a lot of expectation. And you know what? It’s flippen awesome. Many big-voiced singers make the mistake of over-using their pipes. Along the way, control is often lost. Not so here. From the first song, a gentle ballad called “Brightside”, through the cheery (dig that trumpet!) “Dear John” to the funny digs at Cape Town and Jozi scenesters via “Zombie Song”, Tori retains a firm, deft hold on the songs – the stories within, their ability to guide you along a journey rather than try to force something down your throat. Good songs are the backbone of this album, and nowhere does Tori try to hide them behind over-instrumentation or over-singing. “Be Brave” (if you don’t also feel like going out and getting a tattoo after listening to this track, well, then you need to check your pulse) and “Neon Lights” stand out as clear-eyed analyses of relationships. Now is a good time to become a Shotgun Tori fan – on the basis of this album, the two of you are in for the long haul.
By TOAST COETZER
October 30, 2013