Wet Sleeves by Maria Del Rio is a sultry, and sometimes emotional collection of five songs. The album is raw and passionate with just a splash of pain. With the artist self-identifying some of her influences as Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple one can definitely hear those influences. The vocals are truly the centerpiece of each song in the tradition of powerful female solo artists.
The last track of the set “Transparent” was recorded live and added an interesting twist to the overall work. I enjoyed hearing the live song and found the contrast between the studio work to be really interesting. The live sound was so much more organic and seems to be a better showcase of the artist’s true talent.
“How Could I” was the darkest song on the album and the song I enjoyed the most. The lyrics and the vocals seemed very organic and authentic. The use of the heavy piano accompaniment was also a beautiful addition to this steamy piece. The emotions of this song were right at the surface leaving me wanting to see this performed live just to get the full effect.
“Ashes” reminded me of a classic Alanis Morissette song. It was well written with relatable lyrics and just enough of an ironic twist to make it memorable. I enjoyed the almost haunting piano in the background, it seemed to be very purposeful addition to the song. This was something I easily saw myself in, just as the lyrics from Morissette hit home. It's a sad song but in an odd way a catchy tune as well.
“Souls” did not have the heavy piano background, the guitar on this tune seemed to also be very purposeful. A lot of the darkness of “Ashes” was gone but there was still a touch of sadness in this song. This piece would lend itself nicely to a live set. The lyrics again are very emotional and relatable.
Of all the songs, “Sailboat” seemed to be the most peaceful and reflective. There was still a subtle sense of sadness but the feel was a big lighter than the other four songs on the album. The slower tempo of the song seemed a bit of an odd fit for some of the harder lyrics but that was a big part of what made this song enjoyable. It seemed as if the lyrics should be something magical but it was more about the rollercoaster that is teen life.
Del Rio has an interesting style and I think it would open itself up nicely for the next album to be a full collection of live recordings. The emotion and passion between the great lyrics would make this an interesting set to see or hear live.
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