Haste doesn't make waste as far as the remarkably prolific British singer-songwriter Holly Golightly is concerned. When she's recording with Lawyer Dave (a.k.a. the Brokeoffs), it makes perfect sense.
The London-based duo's new CD, "Dirt Don't Hurt," was recorded in five days, one more than its predecessor, which seems just about right. Listening to the 14 cuts, you get the feeling that more studio time would have been counterproductive, rounding off the analog session's rough edges. Instead, "Dirt Don't Hurt" comes across as an unfussy and uncalculated affair, a Deep South-inspired weave of guitars, banjo, bass, percussion (Lawyer Dave often has his hands full) and stark vocal harmonies.
Most of the tunes are original, including the opening track, "Bottom Below," a clangorous shuffle pitched somewhere between Mississippi Fred McDowell and Tom Waits. Laced with resonating guitar tones and rumbling percussion, several songs on the album conjure a similar mood and occasionally evoke Golightly's rootsy kinship with the White Stripes. When the tempo picks up on "My 45," she and Lawyer Dave celebrate the era of classic country duets with boisterous affection, and when the meter shifts to three-quarter time on "Up Off the Floor," Golightly is at her somber, honky-tonk best. In fact, for all its spontaneity and sparks, "Dirt Don't Hurt" has more than its share of soulful treats.
--Mike Joyce, Weekend (Oct. 2008)