Georgia native Elli Perry has delivered Little Thieves, one of the most highly personal – at least to these ears and this mind – collections of songs this year. Ten stories with strong, highly melodic and catchy tunes, which offset the (I think) seriousness of the lyrics. Just to give you a bit of background, Ms. Perry has spent the better part of her time as a touring musician for a year, then feeling burned out, she became something of a recluse from being burned out and dealing with personal issues. Once she regained her footing, she started to compose what has now become Little Thieves and the results of this journey speak for themselves.
The poppy shuffle of “Smoking Gun”, which doesn’t mince its words, is a wonderfully textured piece, with taut drumming, crisp guitar fills and passionate vocals and is a song that you can instantly imagine coming out of your radio; the slower and mournful vibe of “Love Is A Ship” is simply lovely – it exudes heartbreak and loss in a stunningly warm and country-fied frame and the pedal steel runs of “Fare Thee Well” are in perfect tandem with Ms. Perry’s vocals, which shine (and pay attention to the frenetic tempo, which makes this song kick). “Claw & Tooth” starts sparse and builds up, but still remains restrained, performance-wise, which adds to the drama and tension in the track – it’s a melding of jazzy-country (!); “Heartbreak Woman” is the album’s “experimental track” – a heavily fuzzed bass (that’s how I hear it, unless it’s a synthesizer), a slow, measured tempo, Ms. Perry’s vocals, which is the focused instrument here, and razor sharp guitar punches – a gutsy performance. “A Train Will Come” is another standout, with the pedal steel front-and-center and a sweet melody/performance and “Shiver & Shake” is the bare-boned closer, with just Ms. Perry’s voice and a delicately picked acoustic guitar. A most satisfying way to close this collection.
A gathering of songs that make you think as well as listen and take in on a melodic (notice how that word has cropped up several times here?) level. Elli Perry’s stunningly powerful voice is an instant grab, but the bottom line is the whole depth of her songs makes Little Thieves an album not to be passed by.
Little Thieves is currently available