Jolie Holland: Pint Of Blood

Jolie Holland: Pint Of Blood

At this point in her career, singer-songwriter Jolie Holland doesn’t need to try hard. And on her fifth album, Pint Of Blood, she seems to know it. The album’s opener, “All Those Girls,” is a near-cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Helpless” that offhandedly downgrades Neil Young’s metaphysical awe, reducing it to a vague, washed-out ode to jilted hearts. But it works, and that stream of ’70s sepia seeps into “Remember,” which lifts threadbare sentiments and anxious strumming into a heady haze of distorted folk-rock. Holland’s prodigious talent and charisma can only coast on autopilot for so long, and the pastiche starts to wear thin just as her voice does. By the time the third track, “Tender Mirror,” drifts along, Holland’s signature warble has begun to wander. “Wreckage” and “Little Birds”—in spite of their evocative titles—unravel without snagging on a hook. Ace guitarist Marc Ribot continues his association with Holland on “The Devil’s Sake,” although his licks are so spare and slept-in, it’s hard to realize they’re even there. Holland gets points for loosening up, building a blue mood, and going with the flow, whatever that flow is supposed to be. But it doesn’t keep the majority of songs on Pint Of Blood from bleeding together.

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