With lovable extroversion, Michelle A. Jones starts to unfurl quite the curious folk-rock ballad in her new single “Two Dogs & a Rat,” and while the current indie market is saturated with similar content, there are a couple of elements that make this song and its video standout. Lacking the narcotic edge that some of the more surreal singer/songwriter content has been sporting in recent times, “Two Dogs & a Rat” has a puritanical streak that benefits the optimism of its lyrics beautifully, perhaps setting it well aside from the growing pessimism in the American underground today.
The hook in this single is quite soft, but it isn’t lacking the motoric sensibilities a song needs to feel full-bodied compositionally. As a singer, Jones is very relaxed at the microphone, ushering forth brooding harmonies that are neither too ambitious nor underwhelming in comparison to the delicate arrangement of the strings she’s working with. The melody she straddles is a touch bittersweet, but then again, so is the narrative she’s creating with these verses. It’s nothing outrageously left-field, but I like the way the mood of this music stands out next to peer releases currently making their way up the charts.
This is quite the inspirational anthem, reassuring us with its harmonies whilst also hinting at a warmth that extends well beyond what the surface-level qualities in this music can account for. The symmetry between words and music is really seamless in “Two Dogs & a Rat,” and I don’t think you need to be a professional critic to recognize how much heart is going into every verse this player is singing to us. She’s comfortable with her limits, and she knows how to meet them as to give us as spellbinding a work as possible here.
The animation in the music video for this song is very compelling, and I like that it isn’t wrought with the artificial-looking CGT too often employed in this type of release. Much like its source material, the video for “Two Dogs & a Rat” is organic in nature, affirming the theme that Michelle A. Jones was striving for from the moment she put pen to paper. The realized vision and finished product are generating some nice buzz for her brand in the underground, and I can see it having a similar effect if given access to the right mainstream audiences this summer.
There are too many good singer/songwriters to name right now, but of those that are currently getting some momentum as independent players, I think it would be a smart idea to hear what Michelle A. Jones is doing at the moment. Her studio presence is marvelous, and until I get the opportunity to see if she can bring it to the stage as well, I can vouch for the credibility she’s hoisting before critics with the release of “Two Dogs & a Rat.” This isn’t all hype, but a rather plaintive and pastoral introduction to a talented up-and-coming singer/songwriter.
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