(Independent Release) Listening to Holding the Big Chickens Now, the debut from 16-year-old Mamie Davis, it’s easy to forget the local singer-songwriter wasn’t yet born when alt-rock ruled the airwaves. Songs like “Mannequin” and “Empty” are moody and detached, with lyrics about death and despair accompanying loose, grungy instrumentation courtesy of Jay Rodgers (Dangfly!) and Philip Mayer (Kishi Bashi).
Rodgers and Mayer provide capable—if heavy-handed—support throughout. But Davis’ music hits hardest when it’s just her evocative voice and nimble guitar, as on “Visions,” or the tender “Scarlet Lover.” The spare, striking, solo “piano version” of “Maybe, My Baby” is likewise one of the record’s best tracks.
Holding the Big Chickens Now is rough around the edges; a forced sense of darkness and the occasional needless studio frill derail Davis’ otherwise strong songs. Still, as an opening statement, it heralds good things to come.
Mamie Davis plays Hendershot's Coffee Bar on Friday, Aug. 14.