Denise James It’s Not Enough To Love

[Rainbow Quartz; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: psychedelic chamber-pop
Others: Neko Case, Patsy Cline, The Mamas & The Papas, Nancy Sinatra

I'm not quite sure what I expected when I saw the cover of It's Not Enough To Love. James is a good looking woman -- red hair and green eyes are my ultimate Achilles' heel -- but the simple photo of her in front of a blurry blue backdrop faced by the basic text that makes up this cover is almost painfully reminiscent of every bargain bin one-off I've been to, all those broken dreams at the flea market. So my hopes were definitely not up, but thankfully that extremely old, even more extremely clichéd cliché of not judging a book by its cover rings true again. Jim Diamond (RockFour, The White Stripes) engineers while Rainbow Quartz everyman Matthew Smith produces her voice to the perfect level of '60s desolation, the friendly echo often used by Broadcast and the like. While Denise herself dabbles in guitar, Smith also provides lead guitar, organ, trumpet, and noticeable backing vocals, essentially singing a duet on the head-nodding jangle "Come Home To Me." Russell Ledford of The Volebeats and Patrick Pantano of The Dirtbombs fill out the rest of the band here playing bass and the drums respectively. To support James' bleak but flawed vocals, the session players meld all your favorite oldies AM styles, perfectly complimenting the lonely, longing theme of the album with cold but determined style. I can only guess as to why they didn't get Pantano to shoot this album as his photography for the last two White Stripes albums speaks for itself. Ignore the cover and you have one of the best solo albums of the year.

1. Hold On This Time
2. Come Home To Me
3. Love Has Got Me Crying Again
4. Absolutely Sad
5. Sweet
6. It's Not Enough To Love
7. No More Goodbyes
8. Don't Let Her Go This Time
9. Just Like That
10. Your Every Word

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