Linda Draper – Ricochet

Linda Draper

I like my music to be layered with a variety of different instruments. I like pounding drums, throbbing bass, angular guitar, and swashes of keyboard. At least that is my ideal setup. So it always comes as a challenge to feel and enjoy music that is completely stripped down to an acoustic guitar and vocals. The 11 songs on Draper’s Ricochet had better be strong if they are to hold my attention.
After a number of careful listens, Ricochet just hasn’t stuck. The songs go by at medium pace, each one containing Draper’s lovely falsetto and delicate guitar strumming. But I cannot force music on myself that isn’t my thing. Draper is a part of the Antifolk music scene of New York City, where Beck, The Moldy Peaches, and Lach all made their first appearances. Though Draper has clever lyrics, they are not delivered in a fashion that allows them to stick out like those of said bands. She doesn’t seem to have that “punk attitude” that Antifolk bands are supposed to have. Instead, her voice gracefully echoes like this album was recorded in a room void of furniture, if not an all-out church.
The album opener, “As the Story Goes,” is perhaps the most memorable. Draper keeps a beat by playing her strings muted, making me wish that she had a real drummer and a fuller sound in general. It is an introduction of sorts to the rest of the album: “this is my story / here is my glory / hold on tight baby / enjoy the ride / I don’t think I could be the way you wanted me to be.” Draper makes it clear that this album is for herself, and I’m sure any criticism will not change her ways. I can imagine she has the attitude of, “if you enjoy it, then great, and if you don’t, oh well.”
Other interesting tracks include “La Lalala La” and “Get it to Go.” The former sees Draper call life a record player “a skipping, a skipping, a skipping, a skipping,” etc. The latter showcases Draper fluctuating from talk-singing to the falsetto chorus that repeats the title of the song in a most melodic fashion. The rest of the album remains consistent. Though Draper’s voice sounds awkward and short of breath in parts of “Gather Apart,” where she favors a whisper. But no clunkers of any sort are to be found.
Many will enjoy this album. In fact, the reason it took me so long to review this album is because my sister took it from me without my permission, after stumbling across her bio that she found on the table. She enjoyed it thoroughly. But that does not surprise me. She is a choir singer and takes acoustic guitar lessons. Ricochet is a straightforward affair, with little surprises. I would have hoped for a little more variety. Maybe Draper has varied her song structures more on her second album, Snow White Trash Girl, which has also already been released. As Ricochet stands, it is a pretty affair, if not very adventurous.