Summerof (self-released)

Margo May 

Summerof
(self-released)

Margo May is no stranger to the spotlight. The local songbird often can be found serenading crowds, guitar in hand. She also has broken into the final rounds of the American Idol competition not once but twice, which is strange considering that May's light, dusty soprano isn't built for belting. Instead, it's the sound of a raspy little lullaby sung on a sun-soaked picnic blanket. May's first full-length, Summerof, carries on that spirit of bleached-out brightness, atop guitar chords that recall the fresh-faced innocence of Karen Peris and the shuffling lines out of Cat Power's songbook. Fleshed out with '70s-sounding keyboards and breathy backing vocals, May's songs evoke coy flirtations, California summers and suburban bliss (typical come-on: You're the cul-de-sac that wraps around me). Even the names of her songs are adorable: "Sunshine," "Blue Shoes," "Pretty Sure." What's most ear-­catching about May isn't her vocal talent or even the power of her songwriting; it's her honest, uncomplicated charm. But May's tunes have more bite than their titles let on. The minor chants of "Wake" ache for dissonant guitar scrubbing, and "Question Marks" would be a perfect slice of girl garage if someone cranked up the volume and added a churning bass line. So let it out, Margo May: Summerof's graceful lo-fi is better than most, but everyone's gotta get a little loud once in a while.

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