Liz Durrett’s first two albums prompted comparisons to other husky voiced singer-songwriters of the same ilk, like Cat Power. However, her third album proves that while the comparison may be apt, it is not entirely complete.
Durrett takes a big, breathy step into the spotlight and, with help of new producer Eric Bachman (Crooked Fingers), establishes a distinct voice and offers a stunning, well-balanced compilation of tunes on Outside Our Gates. This Athens, Ga.-based balladeer is backed by a veritable who’s-who of fellow Athenians, including her uncle, Vic Chesnutt. Collectively, they help transform her previously muted sound into something lush and hungry.
With titles like “Lost Hiker” and “You Live Alone,” this is an album about solitude, but not necessarily about loneliness. “We Build Bridges” and the album title imply a sort of all-in-this-together feel. The blend of haunting vocals, strings, muted trumpet, scratchy electric guitar and strange percussion produce an unexpectedly beautiful and eerie tone that dominates the album and lingers just beyond definition. It’s something like longing, but with a gleefully gothic tint. Songs vary—from the climaxing, crashing “All of them All” to the lullaby-esque closer “The Sea a Dream”—but all illustrate the same dusky world, making for a solid, evocative album.