While her bio links her to Billie Holiday, a curious (read: inaccurate) comparison, Angela McCluskey has more in common with Stevie Nicks in her 1970s heyday than with the tortured jazz songbird. Maybe it’s just not cool to be equated with the Gold Dust Woman anymore. But I say it’s time to stop fighting it—Nicks is one of the strongest female vocalists of the past 30 years. Thankfully, Angela McCluskey has enough talent to recommend herself.
While this is only her debut, she’s performed with Deep Forest, Shudder to Think and Télépopmusik, and has proven herself a strong vocalist in her own right. Even though she’s no songwriter (most of the tunes on The Things We Do were written by Shudder To Think’s Nathan Larson), the songs were composed especially for her. Imagine the tough, sulky girl-at-the-end-of-the-bar singing, “Oh / You can do what you like boys / Oh / You can do what you please / Oh / Just be gentle with that girl / She’s shining like a dirty pearl” (“Dirty Pearl’). And there’s also a distinct Marianne Faithfull influence as well: “I made my bed / So I can lie on it / So I can cry on it / I’m wondering why / I made this bed” (“Sleep On It”).