Pamela Sue Mann’s hit a sweet spot, it’s someplace between tough-tongued and cute. The heavy-breath sugared vocals of 2019’s ‘Break’ have been refined to an intimate glisten, and the sounds that surround have changed too. Gone are the slick produced adult pop electronics and the dark stripped back disco flirtations. Instead we get something that’s grounded, that’s heading toward simpler and wilder.
‘Ouch’ is brooding and light, heavy weighted and easy, it drips with a half hidden malice. All those tight intonations and intimate voices, they glide over hushed keys and strings. Soft synths and pitched clicks keep pulses and time, and the song slowly grows as it moves. And then just as the track hit’s its mid-point, we get looser, unravelled and scuffed. Those rough strings start to squeal, brass tones squeeze out their rasp, we’re deep in with lean cuts of late P J Harvey and Kate Bush’s ‘Never for Ever’.
There’s something toxic that lurks in the mix, and we might find out what it is… if only we looked long and hard enough. But the push and the pull between a want to let loose and the need to maintain a composure, it keeps us from full confrontation.
This is Pamela Sue Mann at her best. Wide-eyed and clean in the rubble. If the first listen snags you, the second will snatch, and the third drags you right along with her.