Tracy Spuehler zoomed into the public consciousness when Nissan picked up her infectious “Where Do We Go?” for a Nissan TV campaign. On the track, the unknown L.A.-based writer/artist showed her resourcefulness by turning little more than a repeated bass figure, a drum machine and a lyric composed primarily of bah-bah-bah-bah into a song that functioned as insinuating ear candy while hinting at metaphysical expression. It turns out, though, that the track was an anomaly hatched by a young artist who’s more interested in reflection than propulsion.
Spuehler has a melodic facility and a disarming girl-next-door voice that sometimes recalls early Carole King, and these are the bright spots of a modest second album on which not a whole lot happens either musically or in terms of subject matter. For the most part, her songs offer wan reflections on dead-end romance presented via subdued arrangements that rarely even try for dynamic transitions or decisive payoffs. Only on the cleverly conceived “At the Frank Black Show” does Spuehler come up with something that seems distinctly her own; on the rest of It’s the Sound, she settles for standard singer/songwriter musings in plain-wrap packaging.
This girl needs to shake off the doldrums and get some color back in her cheeks.