Hart and Soul
Beth Hart is the musical equivalent of that actor…you know, that guy…he was in…oh gosh…what was the thing? Her voice is a lot like several other voices – great voices, too. Her bluesy style is as familiar as the street you grew up on. In this sense, Hart’s new record Bang Bang Boom Boom will sound like something you know you’ve heard before – even though you probably haven’t. Nothing mind-boggling, but a solid effort, and great soundtrack material.
Hart’s first album came out in 1993, and she’s been making records consistently ever since. Her late 20th century alternative-radio sound has evolved a bit, but that flavor remains pervasive on her latest effort. The whole package feels like Melissa Ethridge meets Annie Lennox, but lacking in the final bit of pixie dust – i.e. the kind of songwriting that clings to your braincells. Bang Bang Boom Boom makes a big ruckus in the moment, but packs up and leaves in a hurry.
That said, Hart’s voice is nothing if not versatile and adaptive. From the thunky plunky piano-fueled “Baddest Blues” to the big band Adele-ish “Swing My Thing Back Around,” her singing is delightful – rough yet controlled, ballsy yet delicate. Each style shift is well-tackled, and worth checking out for some of the extra panache her voice packs; the growls and wicked vibrato she’s peppered in are top notch.
Yeah, maybe she’s a little tricky to pick out of a lineup. But who cares? Hart sells out sweet venues, crafts quality songs, and belts like the best. She’s carved herself a nice place in American music, and that’s enough of a bang bang boom boom to sing about.