She wrote the lyrics to Who I Was Born To Be on Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream, and now Audra Mae appears clad all in fur, holding a dog, and surrounded by the ragtag crew that is her band ‘the Almighty Sound’ on their debut album cover.
The album begins promisingly with the song The Real Thing, a country rock ball-buster with a pulsing Fleetwood Mac-esque bassline. Audra Mae’s vocals are a revelation on this track, but on the following ten songs her growly, smoky, swaggering, pontificating shtick becomes a little tiresome.
On My Friend The Devil she channels Johnny Cash by claiming to have shot a man and watched him die. The bad girl bluster continues on Little Red Wagon where she hollers “you only love me for my big sunglasses and my dodge dark classic… but you can’t ride in my little red wagon”. Audra-Mae’s husky singing style on this song could launch a thousand illegal downloads by Kim Dotcom.
By contrast the insipid country pop Annie Get Your Gun could belong on a Miley Cyrus album. Smokin’ The Boys is more upbeat with a shuffling beat and a rockabilly meets cabaret vibe. Old Italian Love Song is a lovely, old-fashioned number, and Jebidiah Moonshine’s Friday Night Shack Party is a ridiculous and excellent piece of party music (that calls the B-52s to mind because of more than its use of the word ‘shack’).
Audra-Mae’s soulful voice is on full flight on Ne’er Do Wells, a powerful song with a hint of country that could have benefitted from some more heartfelt lyrics to take the song from ‘nice’ to ‘incredible’.
There’s no doubt that The Almighty Sound would be a stellar party band, but with the variety of genres explored their album seems more second-hand than new, and just a few chords away from the outstanding covers album they sound destined for. Audra Mae has already covered Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again and Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, and has proven that with more emotionally-resonant material to work with she can really shine.
Kathryn van Beek www.joyriderpromotions.com
Click here to listen to Little Red Wagon from Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound: