By Brian Tucker
Two voices, colorful instrumentation, and plenty of cool harmonies. This combination makes up the smooth yet spare sounding debut from Capricious, the local duo of Vanessa (Lynch) Mallard and Cole Mancini. Their “Two Goats & A Dream” EP (a nod to their shared animal sign) collects five songs that are awash in a similar, laid back vibe, a mix of folk, country, and soul, and all each bearing their own persona.
The whole lands more like warm embrace than simply offering up deliberate atmosphere. Here two glass-smooth singers deliver beautiful vocals with hints of scars. The atmosphere is built on acoustic guitar and violin – its playing that underscores the songs instead of competing within them for space. It supports the singers, allowing for the two different voices to intertwine throughout the EP. Lynch and Mancini are in the same part of town vocally, just sweeter on some songs and wounded on others.
“Pendulum” centers the EP, and rightfully so, its somber-meets-tender delivery hits the mark, from poignant lyricism to the song’s feel of morning sunrise. Musically “Follow Me” has cool starkness, a song that easily translate to rock or acoustic funk. It has guitar swagger paused with sharp violin jabs and later the violin playing marries sassy with feeling distraught. Mancini sings, “I’m going places you can’t follow me…I’m on a mission but you can follow me, you can follow me instead.” The mood is engaging, like the hesitancy and hope of striking out on one’s own, on a song about the inconsistencies (and abuses) of modern living. Album closer “Lonely” is a smart choice, sounding like a western era love song brought forward as acoustic R&B number.
The duo, sometimes performing with percussionist Hugh Mallard, can be seen around town frequently and Mallard’s voice sounds familiar its because she was a local performer as well. She previously released a solo album (“Walking Blind”) and a Christmas collection (“Waiting for Santa”).
The duo perform December 15th at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.