Of the two Hot Water Music singers, Chris's voice is the most ruined, for sure. Sometimes I wonder how he can get notes to come out of his face, but it happens. But his harsh, deep gravel contrasts beautifully with the peppy, finger-picked guitar style of the old-country tinged melodies. The fact that this was recorded in someone's house adds that perfect lo-fi patina that the vinyl brings out. Screenprinted covers and strangely center-label-less white marble vinyl somehow makes this more personal. I think Chris gets a little less attention than he should get for these solo and side band offerings. These first two tracks are solid. Maybe the only thing I'd like is more structure to the start and end of the song, sometimes it seems like they need refining, but that's also an endearing quality.
The first track of the backside of this vinyl is pretty amazing. Working with Addison Burns' higher harmonies (and sometimes alternating high to low, "Sound Of Heartache" may be the star of this record. It has that polish that I'd hoped for on the first side and that lifts the song from good to great. There's no downloadable version of this that I know of, but I'd put "Sound Of Heartache" on heavy rotation if there were. "Big Fine Girl" is a big fine track, but I can't stop thinking about the "Sound Of Heartache".
A1: Lil Bitta
A2: Staring Into Space
B1: Sound Of Heartache
B2: Big Fine Girl