Two albums came into mind when I put Bonnie Pink’s Let Go on the CD-ROM drive: The Sundays’ Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Wendy and Lisa’s Girl Bros. album from 1998.
Pink’s sweet, soothing voice recalls the Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler, while her songwriting manages to bridge that group’s dreamy amalgan of the Cocteau Twins and the Smiths with the blues-yness of Prince’s former front women.
Perhaps the most telling track is “You Are Blue, So Am I,” a song as every bit as infectuous as the early Sundays’ hit, “You Think You’re the Only One.”
Shimmering guitars, a tastefully funky bass line here and there, Pink’s child-like voice soaring above everything — it’s a remarkable combination distinct not only from other Japanese women rockers but from nearly anyone in the world.
After a pair of false starts (“Sleeping Child,” “Fish”), Let Go, Pink’s fourth album and her debut on Warner Bros. Japan, finds its groove and latches onto it for the album’s remainder. Pink hits a songwriting homerun from one track to the next.
“Reason”, “Kako to Genjitsu”, “Run With Yourself”, “Shine” — just when you think her songs couldn’t get any better, they do.
Singing in English and Japanese, she employs both languages to good effect. On “Trust,” she delivers verses in her native tongue, but during the bridge, she bursts into English: “Why did you hide my toothbrush? Where did you hide my picture? Why did you ask me not to call you last weekend?”
Although Pink sings with a noticeable accent, her handling of the English language is never awkward — no misplaced syllables, no odd stresses. If American artists were remotely interested in covering her material, they’d have no problem. (Hint, hint.)
Pink’s understated, sparsely arranged songs, however, require a lot of attention for their beauty to become readily apparent. It’s easy to overlook her songs on first listen, but repeated spins reveal levels of satisfying depth.