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Review: Doe Paoro - Slow to Love [Album]

Review: Doe Paoro - Slow to Love [Album]

Self Released

Review   1807 Views
Last Edited by: Jack Stovin April 26th, 2012.

In the opening moments of 'Soft and Strong' the closing track on Slow to Love, Brooklyn vocalist Doe Paoro (Sonia Kreitezer) confesses "I'm soft but I'm strong" in a shimmering and echoed delivery that sounds haunted and fragile. The music surrounding it sounds as equally fragile; it builds gradually from naked piano to an understated climax with muted thumps of a kick drum and touches of bass as Paoro admits "I'm strong enough to forgive" before trickling back down to the piano, evaporating quietly into the still air.

On paper those ruminations sound straight forward and simple, but taken in context with the music and considering their placement, they serve not only as telling admissions but summarize the album as a whole, which plays on the dualities of love's more vulnerable side (insecurities, betrayal, weakness, denial) and Doe Paoro's evocative, powerful delivery which helps push her confessional lyrics to cavernous depths and vertigo highs.

Take for example 'Can't Leave You' which qualifies as one of the most compelling moments here: drenched in weeping delicate strings, violins, and upright bass, Doe Paoro captures the helplessness of being held emotionally hostage in a broken situation yet unable to break free even if she had the will. The music reaches gospel-esque heights on the chorus which explodes into glorious bursts of pianos and samples of her dubbed and layered vocals which create a choir-like effect as she gently pleas "Won't you please set me free / Have mercy on me."

The music maintains an uplifting feel even towards the end when she admits "I'm sick of you", underscoring the moment when helpless despair turns into helpless frustration. 'Born Whole' harbors a spiritual quality as well, particularly in the work-song inspired chanting of the vocals over dripping pianos and deep pools of bassy thumps. The term "ghost soul" was coined by Paoro to describe her music and it proves fitting; the production is glossy enough to allow for instruments and effects to shine and for the vocals to have a strong up front presence; yet it avoids the compressed bubblegum feel of conventional pop records.

There's a sense of space throughout the album, a kind of dead air that looms at times much like a lingering bassline or echoed clap from a drum pad would, even when the vocals are misted in effects or filters, they still come across as raw and exposed and regardless of how full any of the songs may feel, they still manage to give off a home recorded quality without sounding wholly like a demo or rehearsal tape. Those qualities best serve songs like 'I'll Go Blind', a neo-soul inspired number that nods with a dense hip hop influenced beat and bubbling, church-like organs as Paoro confronts denial with lines like "I'll go blind before my eyes will see what my heart does know / You left me long ago."

Watch: 'Can't Leave You'

'Body Games' benefits as well, the thundering, clapping percussion is given room to soar along with the tropical chimes of the synthesizers and Paoro's multi-tracked harmonies. It's one of the more 'experimental' moments on the album but one that could fit easily on college radio playlists or television commercials. As far as pop albums go, Slow to Love is a rewarding listen from start to finish; one whose songs are bold and varied yet accessible enough to draw the listener in and will repeated listens.

Slow to Love is out now and available to stream and purchase here:

Worth Listening To...

  • Body Games
  • Can't Leave You
  • I'll Go Blind
  • Born Whole

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