Cute, funny, touching and profound are just a few words to describe Bess Rogersâ€™ debut, â€œDecisions Based On Information.â€ The Brooklyn-based singerâ€™s quirky compositions cross genres like Americana/alt-country, indie rock, twee and folk, leading to an uneven but always fascinating album.
Songs like â€œModern Manâ€ and â€œI Would Neverâ€ are sweet and poppy without being Sixpence-None-The-Richer cloying or sad sack like the Sundays. In â€œYou and Me,â€ the pop hooks come fast and furious, but thereâ€™s this great fiddle break in the middle that reminds you that a real person, with real skill and sense, created something great hereâ€”itâ€™s not just throwaway producer-generated candy. But thereâ€™s also more obtuse songs, like â€œSunday,â€ which features unique rhythms and ends in what would be a punky, noise-rock explosion if it werenâ€™t so . . . Nice. Kind of like Marnie Stern without as much edge. Thereâ€™s definitely a few messier almost-misses in the second, more experimental half of the record (I’m not a big fan of waltzes), but even these songs are worth a few listens. Overall, this is a great, great debutâ€”possibly one of the best of the year.