Lisa McCormick announces her intentions early on, in the title song:
That's exactly the self-portrait McCormick paints throughout this CD. Her third full- length recording, Mystery Girl marks a bold departure from her previous folk-rock roots, exclusively exploring smokey nightclub jazz and fiery Latino rhythms. The result is her strongest and most consistent recording yet.
For this task her voice sounds stronger than ever, whether purring seductively or belting out lusty Spanish lyrics. Just the way she trills her "r's" is worth the price of admission. Supporting her is Julian McBrowne's savvy production, and a band that's tight as fishnet stockings. T-Bone Wolk on guitar and keyboards, John Isley on sax, Michael Tate on drums, and Zev Katz on bass, as well as various guest musicians-all perform with authority and verve.
Along with McCormick's focus of musical style is a focus of subject matter. Her previous recordings featured songs that dealt with a wide range of topics: contemporary angst, the quest for understanding God, the security of long-term love, and jivin' in the afterlife. On this recording, however, it's safe to say that almost all the songs are about one thing: sex. Whether with a long-term main squeeze or a one-night passing fancy is a question left for the listener. However, in McCormick's hands, and in keeping with the musical style, the lyrics employ the delightfully subtle turns of phrase that mark the best of a previous generation's Tin Pan Alley. For instance, in the song Lay Me Down she sings:
Or this, from Ninety Eight Point Six Times Two:
As I listened, I had decided that this recording may be the best "make-out album" since the 1964 jazz/Latino collaboration between Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto. But it seems McCormick already noticed the similarity, as she sings in Fringe Behavior:
Similar to k. d. lang's All You Can Eat in its sustained exploration of the joys of carnal passion, Lisa McCormick surpasses lang with her open-hearted soulfulness and fearless personal experimentation. Listen to Mystery Girl with someone you love, or at least someone you've got your eye on.
Edited by David N. Pyles
Page design by David N. Pyles