THE SCIENCE OF MAKING CHOICES
“I wanna wreck your home / I wanna get your husband alone /He hasn’t met / The happiest place on earth yet.” The ease and attitude with which Mieka Pauley sings those lines, as if she’s making a promise instead of a threat, get right to the heart of her new album: She’s not to be messed with.
Pauley, who was born in Boston, moved away, and eventually returned to attend Harvard, was a fixture on the local music scene before moving to New York five years ago. She cut her teeth at folk venues like Club Passim and by busking in Harvard Square, but Pauley always had more of a rock edge than her guitar-strumming peers.
“The Science of Making Choices,” which Pauley will self-release next week, finds her in fierce form. Traces of Sinead O’Connor’s “The Lion and the Cobra” surface on the opening “Another Go.” Over an acoustic guitar and hand claps, she delivers both a poignant message and a saucy punch line on “Never [Expletive] a Woman You Don’t Love.” (“Obviously this is the radio single,” Pauley joked on her Facebook page.)
By mixing sass with sincerity so freely, sometimes the album sounds incongruous. The steely intensity of “Wreck” feels like a jarring pendulum swing from the chamber folk of “Frigid,” featuring strings by the Parkington Sisters. Likewise, the vaguely trip-hop beats of the preceding “Ether Rope” are out of place and out of tune with the rest of the material.
Missteps aside, “The Science of Making Choices” hits its stride when Pauley locks into a groove and mind-set as irresistible as “We’re All Gonna Die.” (Out Tuesday)
Mieka Pauley will play a CD-release show at Lizard Lounge on June 29.