A while back, the Southampton-born, London-based former frontwoman (Louise if we’re being precise) with the family country and rockabilly band The Okeh Wranglers (no, me neither) ended up in Austin where she ran into Chuck Prophet, resulting in two years of songwriting collaboration and now this debut album, What’s The Worst That Can Happen, on which he plays guitar on the first two tracks, and which also features guitarist James DePrato, drummer Vicente Dominguez (who produced) and accordionist/singer Stephanie Finch from his backing band The Mission Express.
Given her musical background it is, as you would imagine, of a country persuasion with songs generally to do affairs of the heart, kicking off with the amps turned up for the twangy reverb of ‘Oh Love’, which pretty much sets the template for the following six cuts. The title track slows it down to a bluesier groove only for the riff swaggering ‘You’re The One I Want’ to take off into 60s girl pop influences before reining it back in again on the slow waltz ‘No Man’s Land’, though perhaps the line “she’s breathing your tepid destruction” won’t go down among her finest hours.
At this point it’s already almost over, returning to swaggery reverb guitar pop for ‘I Don’t Care’ on which she channels her inner Debbie Harry, rounding out with Finch’s squeezebox on the walking beat ‘Let’s Drive’, one of the more directly country numbers and with a strong touch of the Wanda Jacksons, before ending in rockabilly twang mode on the foot tapping friendly stomp of ‘Want You Back With Me’.
I don’t think that, even with illustrious backing musicians, this has sufficient clout or profile to move her out of the UK’s meat and potatoes country club circuit and on to bigger stages or to make a big impression on an overcrowded American scene, but even so she delivers with spark and fire and there’s much here to enjoy even if the cover doesn’t really do it any favours.
Artist’s website: www.louisekymemusic.com
‘Oh Love’ – official video: