“Wires” – Alejandra O’Leary

Combining an assured employment of squonky guitars with satisfying melodic momentum, “Wires” quickly brings the ear back to the heyday of early ’90s alternative rock at its most engaging. This feels like a nice thing to hear with a fresh coat of 2019 paint. And, as with some of the best material from that era (think Belly, think Garbage), “Wires” isn’t content staying exactly in one place and phoning it in from there. Hang in through the chorus (0:50-1:05) and you get an even higher level of songwriting payout, as the melody there expands in buoyant, unexpected directions.

I love how the song feels slightly unhinged and tightly controlled at the same time, with O’Leary’s clear-toned voice steering us through its twists and turns. You may notice that the verse disappears after its second go-round, replaced by a repeating bridge-like section (1:51) that offers its own hooks. And if you’ve been patiently waiting for those crunchy guitars to break out, your dividend arrives at 2:45, when O’Leary leaves off in mid-lyric for a few moments of concluding instrumental frenzy.

O’Leary is a half-Colombian, half-Irish singer/songwriter based in Portland, Maine. “Wires” is the lead track from Everest, which will be released next week. You can listen to the album, and buy it, via Bandcamp. Her back catalog of three albums and an EP are also there and worth investigating.