Skeleton Arm - Angie Mattson
Maybe it was the big-haired rocker chick photo gracing the cover of Skeleton Arm, conjuring up flashbacks of Alannah Myles, which caused me to prejudge. I turned off this album before the first minute was done, dismissing it as too Black Velvet. Had I left it at that, I would not only have made a grievous error, but I would have done Angie Mattson a considerable disservice.
Skeleton Arm is filled with muddy guitars, a sultry backbeat, and a dark atmospheric strut. Vocally, Angie Mattson begs comparisons to Lucinda Williams or Aimee Mann, delivering languid steaminess with just the suggestion of a sneer. There's a touch of David Lynch in the cinematic sensibilities of these songs. The darkly voluptuous groove that defines this album conjures up images of creaking houseboats and illicit encounters in seaside joints. There's a drawling sensuality in both Angie Mattson's delivery and in the big fleshy guitar riffs that populate the background.
This album may not be the best choice for a road trip, and it's doubtful that any of the tracks would ever make it onto any workout playlists, but Skeleton Arm does deliver a moody and slightly ominous lushness. This is music that celebrates its darkness.