Album Review: Got a Girl – I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
If quirky is what they’re going for then they’ve surely achieved this, and then some. Got a Girl is the unlikely duo between actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead and mega-producer Dan ‘The Automator’ Nakamura, who met each other on the set of the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. What was initially a musical experiment quickly morphed into a musical project, and now the duo have released their debut album I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now. The result is a fresh, quirky, romantic sound that we don’t hear much of these days – it’s a luxurious mix of soul, classical, jazz and sixties pop nostalgia.
What really shines through in this album are the cinematic influences of some tracks; after all, The Automator has lent his composition skills to Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Chinese film Control. The album’s opener, Did We Live Too Fast, is introduced with a dramatic whirl of sweeping strings. It’s a stealthy, sexy piece that could belong to a James Bond film or something similar. Winstead’s vocals appear to be childish yet sexy as she croons about the woes of love and living a lavish lifestyle. Themes such as romance, adventure and fine living are laced throughout the album, with tracks such as Close To You and La La La exploring the irresistible thrill of love on the run.
Winstead’s vocals are demure and captivating, and she has a high range despite not being a belter. She is her own backing vocals in this album – it’s probably for the best, as no one quite matches the uniqueness of her vocal talent. I’ll Never Hold You Back serenades you with beautiful harmonies made possible by combining two layers of Winstead’s vocals; it’s as though she is singing a duet with herself. The album production is intricate and highly detailed, as The Automator combines sweeping melodic phrases and studio beats to create a groovy, romantic atmosphere. It’s wonderfully put together, but at times the tracks could do with an extra kick – Close To You begins to get tedious by the 4 minute mark, which by then it’s just a prolonged outro comprised of the same instrumental loops. However, the composition of the instrumentation actually enhances the message and atmosphere of each song; there’s a sexy trumpet solo in Did We Live Too Fast, and the music box -like theme in Put Your Head Down compliments Winstead’s demure yet suggestive vocals. It’s a next-level lullaby that The Automator has engineered to be soothing and creepy at the same time.
A delightfully charming album, to say the least. Winstead is breathy and seductive, her vocals sending you back to a timeframe where the lust for whirlwind romance and fine living were just beginning to peak. Look out for the exciting upbeat number There’s a Revolution, the lazy crooning of La La La or the dramatic heart-wrencher, Things Will Never Be the Same. Every track is oozing with glam and retro, executed with Winstead’s irresistible charm and The Automator’s suave beats. It’s a fabulous debut that serves as of the most promising releases this year.