Don't let the Juno-esque cover art of Cady Groves' The Life of a Pirate CD create any misconceptions about the music behind the packaging. In fact, this might not be the right album for any fan of the Juno soundtrack.
If you're interested in sweet-yet not saccharin-pop music, Cady Groves might be the female songstress you've been scouring the internet for. From the fast-paced opening track "One in the Same" to the closing ballad "The Life of a Pirate," the CD is short enough to capture the attention of listeners.
What you won't be listening to, is the next Hayley Williams or Cassadee Pope. To group Cady Groves with the commercial faces of female pop-punk would be both unfair and inaccurate. With a slight twang in her voice (Groves hails from Oklahoma), tracks like "Or Else" and "One World" leave an impression that the singer is aiming for a more edgy version of Taylor Swift.
The album is peppered with emotion driven tracks such as "I'm Still Here, " where Groves shows vulnerability ("...once we opened up/ and let them see who we were"), but also puts up a front of resistance ("I scream your name/ I don't know why I care/ I'm still here").The track "Real With Me" leans towards cliche, but remains catchy.
The overlying problem with the album is musicality, not the lack of depth in the lyrics. While the music is marketed as acoustic, the background noise detracts from the simplicity of the guitar. Instead of layering the tracks with hand-clapping, and what seems to be bells or tambourine, the songs would be better accompanied by a full band.
Groves' voice is enjoyable, but the frantic pace of the music can make her singing seem harsh to listeners. With only 8 tracks, the album could afford to slow down so that fans aren't left wondering why a song was over so soon. Even though the target audience might be guilty of having short attention spans, they will still feel cheated by such abrupt endings.
Maybe Cady Groves is rushing because she fears her 15 minutes of fame are coming to an end. But in reality, Groves is just at the beginning of a promising career. With the right marketing, Cady Groves could easily be the next VH1 "You Oughta Know" artist (listen to "Changin Me" for a Sara Bareilles-like track).
While not a perfect record, The Life of a Pirate shows a lot of potential for growth and development. It is certainly entertaining enough to keep listeners waiting to see what direction Groves will take with her next album.
3 out of 5 by Freelancer Breeze Riley