The debut album from Connecticut’s Saint Bernadette hits the sort of notes and touches that make me weak in the knees, by expertly melding things I’m a sucker for: ballsy broads, smoke-filled jazz clubs, and, of course, the element of surprise. Lead vocalist Meredith DiMenna has, if you can imagine—and perhaps you should be sitting down for this—pipes that, in the span of one forty-minute record, channel Beth Gibbons, Grace Slick, Johnette Napolitano, Velma Kelly and PJ Harvey. Picture a hazy, boozy club in the darkened edge of town (“I Own the City”), sitting at rickety wooden tables at the mercy of a band at its epic prime (“Such Ease,” “Lay Me Down”), with instrumentation that effortlessly undulates, and with brute force and passion, lights and conquers the torch songs (“Pieces,” “Sidestep”) and menacing theatrics equally (“No Dreams”). Whew. I’m exhausted, and enamored. You will be, too. (Exotic Recordings)  –Carrie Alison

  1. Sounds good!