By – Kristi Houk
Recommended if you like: Wednesday, Snail Mail, Sharon Van Etten, Bruce Springsteen
Thank god for Chicago-based Ella Williams aka Squirrel Flower and her beautiful, grungy new album (her third full length), Tomorrow’s Fire. Honestly, there’s not a stinker in the bunch, but are you really surprised? If you are, then you aren’t paying attention and pay attention you should. As a friend recently remarked when I recommended she listen to it: “It’s always the right time for a pretty voice and a dirty guitar.” It’s precisely that juxtaposition with their ethereal vocals like slow pouring honey a la Low’s Mimi Parker (RIP) and the fuzzed out guitar stylings reminiscent of Crazy Horse era Neil Young – AND there’s some Liz Phair in there too, particularly on the lo-fi track “Intheskatepark.”
For my money, she’s one of the most important songwriter’s going right now. Dare I say (and I will dare) she has the makings of being her generations Bruce Springsteen. That comparison really comes into play on “Alley Light” a track that has that Springsteen vibe of taking your girl out on a Saturday night and escaping some dead end town for good in a beat up Ford truck. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at least once fantasized about saying fuck it, upending everything, and driving off into the night. Take it from this small town girl, it’s a thing.
It’s tempting to publish the entire lyric sheet from this record because they are so quotable but I will spare you, dear readers, with the following:
Top 5 lyrics from Tomorrow’s Fire that Kristi would easily have tattooed on her arm:
There must be more to life than being on time.
Taking it Easy is a full time job.
These days it takes a sunrise to remember you’re alive.
I’ve had my fun, I’m done.
I won’t be changing.
Tomorrow’s Fire is a rugged, tough, and cathartic piece of art from an artist at the top of her game. Fire isn’t always associated with destruction. Here, I think it’s about rebirth.
Stand out tracks: “Alley Light,” “Full Time Job,” “When a Plant is Dying”
Written by: kristi houk
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