Every song needs a melody, but how many are constructed so tightly that it is impossible to read a lyric sheet without hearing every note? On the title track of Philadelphia based musician Chelsea Mitchell's fall album, Married In The Aviary, the words "Lets get married in the aviary, I'll be wearing my canary gown" is sung with a cadence and control so precise that a mere ten seconds into the song, you're already mesmerized by all of the different elements at play. The same can be said of the other tracks that comprise Married In The Aviary, although that song particularly stands out. It gets under your skin, quietly building, with every verse adding just a hint of previously unheard instrumentation. To be able to create such a complete picture without the aid of a paintbrush is a remarkable feat, one that is vastly out of reach of some of even the most accomplished and seasoned performers.
Looking over the track listing, a six song album may seem short in length but make no mistake: these songs are ambitious and bold, incorporating a writing style that is rife with poignant story telling. Like spokes on a wheel, the words, melodies and arrangements intertwine beautifully, perfectly complimenting each other while supplying these stories with a drive and gusto that so many pop songs lack. Each composition manages to feel meticulously structured and carefully executed, all the while maintaining a spontaneity that feels natural and unrehearsed. That is quite a tightrope to walk, and the results are striking.
For those who are unaware of Mitchell or her new band, Dirty Dollhouse, I could tell you she sounds like this or like that. But I won't do that because she doesn't really sound like anybody but Chelsea Mitchell. It's almost startling to hear a performer so fully formed this early in their professional career, so on top of their game. And if Robert Johnson had to make a deal with the devil, I don't even want to know who Mitchell's been taking meetings with.