Retrospective musical obsessions are a dicey proposition. When it comes to the decade between 1959 and 1969, Holly Golightly is undoubtedly obsessed. She has made a career as such -- the prima donna protégée of Billy Childish who wears an adoration of rock 'n' roll's formative years on her sleeve. It's a method that's afforded Holly some friends in high places, not the least of which is duo-chrome rock darling Jack White. By bringing her in the studio for the White Stripes' blockbusting Elephant, Jack bestowed Golightly with more notoriety in 2:42 of boy-girl kitsch ("It's True That We Love One Another") than her eight previous records combined. The benefactions didn't stop there. With the release of Golightly's most recent album Truly There Is None Other, Uncle Jack himself penned the drippingly rhapsodic liner notes ("We share laughs and lemonade as the cars drive by slow").
Being White's gift to the world is a large cross to bear, and, in some ways, Golightly rises to the challenge. Of the 13 songs on . . . None Other, only three are covers, showcasing her writing far more than any of her other records. True to her obsession, Golightly's songwriting produces melodic pop vignettes that evoke left-of-the-dial AM gems, and tracks like "Walk a Mile" and "Tell Me Now So I Know" display a professorial understanding of '60s femme-pop. But there's the rub -- Golightly's carbon copy of the past has only so much mileage. Absorb 10 minutes of newly recorded oldies grooves, guitar licks and dreadfully tried lyrical clichés ("My baby's gone and left me," etc.) and it's hard not to want the real thing. It apes the nostalgia inspired by scratchy old finds in the 25-cent bin very well, but it doesn't require the thrill of the chase that makes those finds such a treasure. Think of it as musical near-beer, basically the same taste with none of the buzz, leaving the only thing that . . . None Other can offer to be an encapsulated stroll down memory lane for people who want to take the highway.
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