Thursday, June 16, 2016

Karen Haglof - Perseverance And Grace

Singer-songwriter/artist Karen Haglof’s off-kilter perspectives on life and romance are likely to be a comfortable fit for fans of artists like Lucinda Williams, Dawn Landes, and Elizabeth and The Catapult. Her second solo album Perseverance And Grace finds Haglof, a veteran of New York’s 1990s alt rock club scene, setting clever and often biting lyrics to alluring melodies. Her approach to arrangements is a bit repetitive but with help from bassist-vocalist Steve Almaas (who also produced this effort) and drummer CP Roth, Haglof keeps things interesting.

Most of her subject matter concerns navigating the various ups and downs of everyday life. The title track is a guitar-driven allegory in which Perseverance and Grace are the names of a married couple that befriends Haglof and nurtures her. “Monday Under My Belt,” a funky rock tune augmented by Liza Colby’s backing vocals, offers a survival guide for the work week, and on the bluesy “Tornado (Through The Bottleneck),” Haglof wishes for a “haven from harm.”

The outlook is much sunnier on the romantic rock song “Sunday Walk,” as a woman enjoys the simple pleasures of running errands with her significant other. “Trouble-Won’t Say More,” which features Mitch Easter on guitar, and the hard-hitting “Hair Bite” showcase Haglof's gift for crafting fun and imaginative wordplay. She offers the helpful strategy of taking things in stride on slinky and tropical-sounding final track “Cool Down.”

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