Hannah Prater has a voice made to sing the words, “Why’d ya go and wreck this all?”: firm but with a little crack to it, at once bright and dusky, hurt and resilient and maybe a little existentially exasperated too. Why’d ya go and wreck this all? She’s sad, and disappointed, and pissed off, and her rich tone nicely captures the overlay of emotions independent, even, of what she’s saying. Over the Rhine fans should pay particular note; Prater sings with something of Karin Bergquist’s idiosyncratic verve, and “Wreck,” come to think of it, does have the vibe and polish of one of OTR’s smooth, capable rockers.
And make no mistake: smooth and well-crafted it is, from the gratifying melodies of the verse and the release of the chorus to the precisely played instrumental parts laid down by guitarist and keyboard player Chris Meyers (the group’s main songwriter) and drummer Steve Bowman (who has played with Counting Crows, among others). Interesting how the “indie” umbrella by 2008 gathers in everything from buzzy, jarring lo-fi to well-produced, radio-ready numbers such as the Bittersweets play. The irony, as music aficionados know, is that the internet all but overflows with radio-ready songs that few if any terrestrial radio stations are in fact ready to play. Blame deregulation in this case too; and I only wish that were a joke.
“Wreck” is from the Nashville-based trio’s second CD, Goodnight San Francisco, which was released this month on Compass Records. MP3 via Compass.