Release date: 10/2007
I figured this record would be a gimmicky attempt at an americana throwback from the husband and wife team that brought us The Calico Sunset (Jenny and Joseph Andreotti). Still, I was interested to check this out because I did enjoy the (at times) over-the-top, yet feverishly catchy girl-fronted Calico Sunset brand of electro-clash pop. Jenny Andreotti is the vocalist on Grizzly Owls as well, so I thought this would combine for an interesting storm of sugary vocals, experimental gadgetry, and American gothic.
"What's A Girl To Do" is done to the beat of cowboy ballad with the vocals sounding a little too perky. It just doesn't seem to fit at first, but it grows on you a bit. My first impression was "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" movie soundtrack meets The Calico Sunset. This is gonna be the "spaghetti western" of indie rock!!!
"Jeremiah" is an out-of-kilter and unpredictably dark song that works extremely well for Jenny's voice. The addition of keys and sparse guitars accentuate Jenny's breathy delivery to create a somber indie rock sound.
"Rifles and Hemlines" is the culmination of everything that is unique, refreshing, and attractive about this record. The guitars are both crisp and twangy with quirky vocals that are delivered in Jenny Andeotti's own playful style. Interesting lyrics depict cultural realities of the olden days: ("Women keep their hemlines below their knees, after all, no respectable girl wants to be a tease.")
"Oh Good God, How I Want That Man" is clearly the stand-out song here with the use of keys and harmonica adding delicacy to the tone with clever lyrics to sweep you off your feet:
("Could you love me if my breasts were a little bigger...could you love me if you weren't already married... could you love me if you knew if I existed?")
Chorus: ("Oh good God How I want that man; I want to feel his fingers run through my hair; I want to feel his breath as he whispers in my ear; I want to feel his lips pressed against my neck.").
The highly danceable "Twenty-Six" is the most upbeat song on the record and is more familiar territory for those who have heard the Andreotti's music before.
From the cover art and inside photograph of Jenny's ancestors to lyrical references, everything about By Night At My Bed is an homage to the dustbowl era of the late 1800s, early 1900s. Unique, fresh, and infectious - it's fun listening even for the cynical indie music grinch.
If you thought The Calico Sunset was a bit obnoxious sounding, you may enjoy the off-beat, immediately engaging, rhythmically complex, and surpisingly melodic music of The Grizzly Owls. Give this a listen or three before you make a judgement. And remember, we are all children of the Dust Bowl.