Surfer Rock Redux:
Laura Paragano - Strange Curses
(Independent/September 17, 2018)
• Stream/Download the Album
A mouth from Jersey and a soul from California.
That's the tagline for San Francisco based artist Laura Paragano. Strange Curses is her first full-length release, coming after the two-song EP The Tiny Telephone Sessions (April 2018).
That surfer rock soul is out in full force on Out for a Surf (natch) with vocals that tip the hat to the richly tremolo'd legacy of Roy Orbison. There's a tough girl credo to I'm Fine, sung with a bittersweet bravado.
Laura has the perfect voice for the genre, strident yet expressive, with an edge of melancholy that adds to the intepretation of the songs she's penned. They cover the oft-charted territory of love and loss with a catchy retro groove and golden guitar lines from Linden Evans.
""Strange Curses" is a literal record of myself. Although I only started writing the songs for the album two years ago, I've been working on this album for much longer. Every song relates to a particular feeling that has viscerally impacted me. Some are very old feelings, and not putting them to words was burning a hole inside of me. It wasn't until recently that I found the right way and right people to externalize these feelings." (Laura Paragano)The rhythm section of Jerry Miller on bass and Mike Steczo on drums provide a nicely complex texture to the music underneath the driving beat of surfer rock.
3/4 slows it down for a classic torchy rock song in waltz time (3/4, get it?) showcasing her vocals and a sexy trumpet line from the singer and multi-instrumentalist. California Dreaming isn't a cover of the song you were thinking of, it's an inventive country rock track.
I want to live in the sunlight,
Instead of the headlights, out in the rain...
Her writing is atmospheric and offers a unique spin on the old cliche about the Sunshine State. A slow, retro rock cover of Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire cleverly brings her New Jersey and California influences together in one track.
Catchy and illuminated by great playing that feels the music, Strange Curses is definitely replay worthy.
1. Out for a Surf
2. I'm Fine
3. Can't Give
5. And You
6. California Dreaming
8. Juliet, Romeo
9. I'm on Fire
10. Doom / Strange Curses
Laura Paragano: Vocals, rhythm guitar, trumpet, harmonica; Linden Evans: Lead guitar; Jerry Miller: Bass; Mike Steczo: Drums
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From the EP The Tiny Telephone Sessions: