Album Review | Folk/country

Lori McKenna, ‘Massachusetts’

In “Make Every Word Hurt,” Lori McKenna demands that if you plan on breaking her heart, you can at least do her the courtesy of not padding it with pleasantries. It’s a virtue the Stoughton native has long valued, and it’s in ample supply on “Massachusetts.” She doesn’t just tell the man she’s leaving “You ain’t worth the spit in my mouth when I scream out your name” in “Salt,” she incorporates that line into the chorus, while the first verse of “How Romantic Is That” details a hastily-executed wedding with almost ruthless efficiency. The latter song, along with “Better With Time” and “Grown Up Now,” picks up another recurring thread of McKenna’s: unsentimental but fiercely defended domestic love. Working with a folk/country palette that would benefit from more clarity, Mark Erelli’s production is a little soft, though it can’t suppress her sharp songwriting or her piercing warble. If anything, it only serves to hide the sting. (Out Tuesday)

Marc Hirsh

ESSENTIAL “Make Every Word Hurt”

Lori McKenna performs at the Sinclair April 23.

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