Long Shot


aec.cdb5638567212.2 9/25/15 New
$11.89 $13.99

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Review Text The Long Shot is the debut of Vivian Cook, a singer and songwriter from California with a chip on her shoulder. The album's title was taken from the subject line of an email she sent to R. Walt Vincent asking him to produce her first record. The studio veteran of records by the likes of Pete Yorn, Liz Phair, and Tommy Keene liked what he heard and said yes. He also contributed performances, arrangements, and programming to the album. Cook herself plays guitar and piano on angsty indie pop that features full rock-band accompaniment. She has a distinctive, urgent vocal delivery that, together with the arrangements and her songwriting style, can be reminiscent of contemporary rock musicals, particularly those about navigating adolescence and young adulthood. That's the topic at hand on The Long Shot. One of the poppier tunes, "Whatever," opens with repeated, staccato keyboard chords and drums before Cook enters with "I lost everything last night." She goes on to sort through options for self-medicating, arriving at "So let's do whatever we want/I'm pretty sure it's legal long as we don't get caught." Often straddling the line between relatably direct and clunky, other lyrics, like "So/How'd you become such a ho?" and conspicuous cursing, come off as bratty rather than with-it, though that doesn't make it less genuine. Elsewhere, "Hazy" stresses that Cook knows her way around a dynamic melody, and the surprising "Train Conversations" shows flexibility via an effortless twang over Zak Ambrose's slide guitar. ~ Marcy Donelson

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