Although No Galore is described as a solo recording by singer-songwriter Faith Kleppinger, this is a bit a of misnomer. You see, when I think "singer-songwriter", I imagine a claustrophobic recording with just the one person playing their primary instrument while singing behind it. Yeah, you may hear an occasional guest performer, but the focus is usually entirely on the main person. And you're basically left to judge things on songwriting and style of delivery alone.
In contrast, No Galore seems to be a more collaborative
effort. Yes, Faith Kleppinger wrote and performs all the songs.
However, she is backed by the same group of musicians on all
of the songs. In this respect, then, No Galore
is really a recording by an actual band, and believe it or not,
this makes all the difference in the world.
For instance, in typical singer-songwriter form, the title track begins as a simplistic acoustic tune with the vocals way out front. But additional instruments (including some very nice drumming) quickly make their presences known. Subsequently, backing vocals come in to sing, "It's just a good, old-fashioned broken heart." This combination gives the music a resonance and a fullness that perhaps would have been missing without the band and makes No Galore the best track on the album.
Still other songs also show the influence of the increased
instrumentation. As an example, Pickup, Blue includes
a nice contradiction between the acoustic rhythm guitar and
the electric, more melodic guitar. Similarly, Understudy
Lines begins as a slightly generic song that improves dramatically
once the rest of the band comes in. Finally, Ready Made
begins with Kleppinger singing and strumming an acoustical guitar,
which seems pleasant enough, but then some gentle electrical
accompaniment comes in and acts as a 5 note counterpoint to
her melody. Believe it or not, that simple act adds so much
to the texture and richness of the overall song. And, as I said
previously, it elevates the album as a whole.
Besides the afore-mentioned title track, there are two other
truly standout songs on this album. The first, Another Room,
starts in the same straight-forward acoustic manner, much like
the songs I mentioned above. But then suddenly, there's a nice
bass/guitar riff going on behind Kleppinger which balances out
the intensity of her voice. Moreover, the occasional odd chord
combination during this song gives it a lightly off-kilter feel,
kind of like Neutral Milk Hotel, albeit fronted by a woman and
without a theremin.
The other standout song, Gone Singin', is also the one
song on No Galore that sounds very different from
the rest. With its brushed drumming and all electric backing
instrumentation, it feels a bit like Exile in Guyville-era
Liz Phair. And, with this ostensible increase in volume, Kleppinger's
singing changes noticeably. Instead of being more introspective,
her voice seems more confident and open. An yet, despite this,
the generally subdued tone of Gone Singin' fits in well
with the rest of the album.
All in all, I have to say that I enjoy No Galore more than I
did Kleppinger's previous
Two Sheds release. The addition of a stable group of recording
musicians adds touches to the songs which enrich their structure.
Furthermore, vocally, it seems like Kleppinger delivers her
music in a more easy manner. Taken together, No Galore
is more driving and certainly less claustrophobic, and this
serves Faith Kleppinger and her future well.