Reviewed By: Izzy Cihak
While music journalists have spent the past decade looking for alt-country stars in Sonic Youth’s touring partners and anyone collaborating with Emmylou Harris, they somehow seem to have missed Maggie Walters. After more than a year of sitting on the shelf, and many years struggling to break out of the Texas music scene, Maggie has released her second full-length, Midwestern Hurricane, the most somberly beautiful album of the year and the best thing the genre has heard since Tanya Donelly’s Beautysleep.
Without the aid of any Stooges covers or six-minute-long audible walls of distortion Ms. Walters still manages to sound edgier and certainly racier than any of her peers. This is likely, at least in part, due to the choice of Butthole Surfer Paul Leary as producer, a man whose never had a problem blending the unpretentiously progressive with the enjoyably accessible. Tracks like “Girls Like Us” and “Captain” are reminiscent of Jewel in lo-fi, but lacking in any kind of put-on grandiosity, leaving their sentiments of sexuality and worship endearingly sincere. “You Got Something” is even reminiscent of Chris Cornell’s solo work, yet with a silky personal intimacy not likely to be found in the stars of KROQ.
The flawless musicality of the album manages to never be at odds with itself, allowing each piece, whether it be the lazy strum of a guitar string, the prolonged hum of a cello, or the delicately deviant sensuality found in Walters’ throaty voice, to imbue the listener with an ineffably gentle pain. The melancholy and erotic delicacy found in the album’s sound make it an equally suitable soundtrack for lonely nights at whiskey bars or rainy Sundays spent between the sheets.