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Urban Comfort

Urban Comfort EP
(First Flight Records)

Ana Hortillosa is yet another in a long line of female singer-songwriters that do their thing with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and vocals, but unlike the glut of coffee-shop wannabees out there, there's just something about Anamude that elevates her above all that. On this 21 minute collection of 6 songs, she definitely leaves an impression of someone to watch, as she weaves a batch of compelling songs that again bring something new to a genre that has seemingly seen it all.

The first two tracks on the release make a point much better than I could probably do in my review, but hopefully by outlining them a bit, you'll get the point. "Excerpt" opens the disc with only 54 seconds of a slow gallop on an acoustic guitar and lovely vocals that soar at the end rather similarly to Chan Marshall. The track ends, and "Brokedown" begins, but they could very well be the same track, as it opens with a couple minutes of meandering acoustic guitar, notes ringing out to silence before slowly building on one another and tumbling, tumbling into a hard-strummed melody while Hortillosa belts out vocals in a sly, sharp way that makes you wonder what she's been hiding up her sleeve. Again, the resemblence to Cat Power is there, and her wordplay is clever and fun at the same time.

The next three tracks on the album are the three-part "Urban Comforts," and part 1 mixes double-tracked vocals and guitars into something slightly more layered while part 2 again takes a faster ascending guitar melody and adds breathy vocals over the top before heading into the more introspective third and final part. The closing track on the release plays up a slightly more childish side of Hortillosa's vocal styles, and the use of an accordian only adds to the seafaring lyrical turn. It's the added instrumentation (even though it's only one other element) of the final track that makes you wish the EP would just keep on going (especially with the abrupt ending of the song). Hopefully this is just the first we've seen of Anamude, because this EP is a little gem.

Rating: 7.5