Wine In Bed
The debut EP from Lisa Ridgely And The Fainting Room, Wine In Bed, fits in nicely with the burgeoning Americana scene in Milwaukee. It’s drenched in urban twang, punctuated by multiple hooks, suavely produced (recorded and mixed, naturally, by Shane Hochstetler), and still manages to contain a few rough edges. Ridgely has a modicum of Jeff Tweedy’s knack for crafting lovely tunes about the ugly side of love and relationships, making for a promising debut effort.
For the most part, the record has a definite “band” feel, especially the opening and closing tracks. Drummer Craig Mertes and guitarist Ryan Elliott (of local power-poppers Great Lakes Drifters) are in control of the intensity and tempo, and the dynamic, reverb-laden swells of the title track are instantly engaging. “Karma Caught Up,” however, is the obvious gem; at first it will either be off-putting or put a toothy, eyebrows-raised grin on your face. Either way, the song must be acknowledged as a juicy nugget of pop and a fine showcase for Elliott’s Mike Campbell-esque shredding.
Considering The Fainting Room’s WAMI pedigree, it’s no surprise that Wine In Bed is a slick, pleasant-sounding EP. But its best moments go beyond ear candy. Ridgely’s vocals come to the fore on the bitter, ramshackle country waltz “Maverick,” which would be an unremarkable track if not for the climactic harmonic trills between Ridgely and Sara Moilanen (West Of East, The Whiskeybelles). On “Santa Fe” (featuring spare piano work by guest Chris DeMay), Ridegly’s singing is reminiscent of that of Natalie Merchant—sad but strong. The slower bits aren’t quite as effective as the rockers, but there aren’t any complete duds; overall it’s a striking first outing.
Lisa Ridgely And The Fainting Room celebrate the release of Wine In Bed tonight at Club Garibaldi.