Album review: "Mindy Smith"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, July 13, 2012
Nashville (by way of Long Island) singer-songwriter Mindy Smith has always written a blend of country and folk, and she continues that mix on her new release -- her fifth studio album and first on an independent label.
A mid-career self-titled album has a momentous implication, and Smith doesn’t veer outside her comfort zone. Her sweet, girlish voice matches the easygoing, laid-back vibe of such songs as “Cure for Love,” “Take Me Back” and “If I.” She maintains that tone on the more uptempo numbers; the gorgeous “Pretending the Stars” is still a shimmering, dreamy pop tune, it just moves a little faster.
The frustration with “Mindy Smith” is that it’s almost too pretty. Smith never achieves the bite that made some of her earlier work so compelling (even before her own debut album was released, she gained notice with her feisty version of “Jolene” on a 2003 Dolly Parton tribute). The closest Smith comes here is the angsty “Sober,” which tries to capture a darker tone but never quite breaks away from her lilting sweetness.
Smith has always delivered beautiful, polished country/pop songs, and she continues that here. They’re just missing some of her earlier fire.