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Liz Durrett: Outside Our Gates [Album Review]

Liz Durrett by Laura Heffington

There’s something about artists like Liz Durrett (MySpace) that I really, really dig. Like last year’s Hands Across The Void by Tiny Vipers, Durrett’s style of folk includes sensually soft vocals. The airiness in her voice fits well with her deep pitch, creating a mystical and dreamy sound.

Outside Our Gates opener “Wake To Believe” mixes her signature vocals with soft guitars and pleasantly dark strings, but things change in “Wild As Them”, where percussion is heightened and horns blare. The effect isn’t nearly as powerful as the stripped-down Durrett, but it still works nicely and she follows it with another soft tune, “In The Eaves”.

I tend to favor that discordant sound found here. “In The Eaves” isn’t all quiet—there’s an experimental breakdown with a softly mixed electric guitar and moogy keyboards in the middle and again at the end. Durrett is at her best on these songs; they really accent her unique vocals. In tunes like “All Of Them All”, there’s beauty in the darkness and this song in particular comes off as one of the most powerful on the album thanks to these elements.

Then, toward the end, the louder sound returns in the upbeat “You Live Alone”, where trumpets are once again rampant, and the electric-feedback-filled “Always Signs”.

What makes Durrett so special is not that she’s a folk artist. It’s that her acoustic melodies often find themselves infused with the aforementioned electric guitars and strings. The strings are cleverly emotive and the guitars tend to be packed with a low-level distortion that creates a cautious tension in many of the songs.

Liz Durrett: Wild As Them [mp3]
[audio:0910_liz_durrett_-_wild_as_them.mp3|titles=Wild As Them|artists=Liz Durrett]

Outside Our Gates by Liz Durrett

Warm Records [CD, 2008]

1. Wake To Believe
2. Wild As Them
3. In The Eaves
4. We Build Bridges
5. Lost Hiker
6. All Of Them All
7. Note For A Girl
8. You Live Alone
9. Always Signs
10. Not Running
11. The Sea A Dream

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