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Amanda Easton’s “Drama and DooWops” has style to burn

Amanda Easton’s Drama and DooWops has style to burn. Don’t mistake that for meaning it’s a superficial listening experience. Amanda Easton’s songwriting talents have too much depth for that. The six songs she’s recorded for Drama and DooWops embrace a sound that some listeners will consider hoary or passe – until they hear with an open mind Easton’s feel for these tunes. It helps, I am sure, that she’s written each of the EP’s half-dozen tracks – they are more than just performances for her, more than self-expression on a few levels, but intrinsic to her character as a human being and where she stands circa 2023.

It’s innate talent, as well, and you hear it from the first. “Dog Eared Drama” comes storming out of its corner ready to tangle with listeners, surging forward with its heart in hand. Easton’s voice is at the center of it all, surrounded by hard-hitting drums and reverb-spiked guitar, and she explores a long line of emotions during the song. Pipe organ helps fill out the instrumental sound. I like how it has some suggestion of being a self-consciously selected opener for the EP – the extended intro for the song makes it an ideal candidate.

“My Pick-Me-Up” cycles through an array of masks. It opens as a spartan, yet intensely rhythmic track guided by Easton’s vocal alone before the arrangement expands for the first time. Easton and her collaborators tackle each transition with aplomb and it’s another of the EP’s seamless music listening experiences. “Girl in the Sky Blue Ballgown” is one of Drama and DooWops’ most emphatic moments. Easton ventures into territory like this earlier during the EP, but never as deep as she travels her, and the song serves as a poetic bloodletting of sorts, set to music, with her voice shaping and harnessing the center of a raging storm.

She delivers a powerful near climax with “Floral Dress”. The EP’s penultimate tune once again slows her musical vision down to a dramatic crawl, but it’s never turgid. This is a considered, even stately cut in the manner of the preceding tune eschewing the heavy roots music touches of songs such as the opener. The differences in the overall approach may sound small to some, but they are there and essential to Drama and DooWops’ merit.

Her final curtain for the EP “Before the Coffee Got Cold” has wide utility as a song. I mean that it will find ready acceptance from listeners looking for entertainment and nothing more from their listening choices while also pleasing music fans who want something a little deeper from that same experience. Her footing in both camps is firm. Biting, sarcastic humor makes for a memorable final bow for this release. The title Drama and DooWops reflects that same aesthetic, in some ways, but there’s an abundance of riches scattered over these six songs. Amanda Easton’s new EP Drama and DooWops is surely among her best studio releases yet and an invaluable addition to her growing catalog of songs. 

Mindy McCall



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