Two years out from the debut solo record that marked her return to Portland's musical consciousness, Andi Fawcett's been a busy gal lately, recently joining long-time drummer Dave Henault as Sly-Chi's vocalist and continuing to front Doubting Gravity, a pop-rock outfit that's grown from its traditional trio into a four-piece affair and this weekend releases its debut four-song, self-titled EP. Like Fawcett's solo work, the lyrics here continue to be hyper-personal and relationship-focused, but there's definitely more of a holistic band feel and more interesting arrangements.
Fawcett seems to have grown as a vocalist, too. From the opening "Angel Down," there's more bite in here delivery, more passion. "How am I supposed to watch you fall," she asks, "when I promised I would hold you at any cost?" There's a string arrangement to complement Fawcett's direct-line-in acoustic guitar and the overall vibe is early Pete Kilpatrick, with some pop-country flavor in the angel-based sentimentality.
"Best Wasted" harkens back to the Relishgruv days, with Josh Prescott (Marion Grace) laying down a funk bass line, and the piano of "Angel" replaced by a Wurlitzer sound (Prescott plays those, too). Mike Allen also supplies a slide guitar to "Cover," and it's these melodic additions that keep the songs from being too cookie cutter.
Sure, the kind of "I'd crawl a million miles . . . I'd go through hell and back" writing of "The Real Thing" and elsewhere is maybe more sappy than some listeners would like, but a good Matchbox Twenty-style pop song will be welcomed in plenty of circles.