Admittedly, I was a little taken aback when the sweet, ‘60s-inspired pop came through my headphones. Could this be Holly Ramos, former frontwoman of the punk band with hardcore roots, Fur, who acquired street cred from schmoozing with the greats and playing backup guitar for Joey Ramone?
Although her debut solo album is sweet, poppy and lyrically simplistic, it is refreshingly honest and brilliant. Her voice is at times childlike and saccharine when she sings of heartbreak and love. Yet, Ramo’s edgy voice and true New Yorker persona remain just under the surface peeking through the sweetness at the most opportune times.
The opening track, “Thinking about You,” is an honest depiction of being an absolute mess after a break up—the unwashed hair, the dirty dishes. Ramos just says it like it is. I can’t think of anyone else today who can admit “I know I’m being dumb and macho and I know it’s time to let go” and make it sounds so lovely.
By far, the standout track is “Evangeline,” a loud and twangy track about “the finest girl you’ve ever seen.” Ramos croons about checking out cute girls walking around downtown. A woman with a “$10 haircut to look like Elvis” catches her eye, and Ramos wonders if she’ll ever get the guts to say hello.
Listeners looking for riotous punk rock may be mildly surprised that this strong, outspoken woman took a more mainstream-friendly approach, yet she remains true to herself and her roots.