Josefina's pop strum has come a long way but sounds right at home | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Josefina's pop strum has come a long way but sounds right at home


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Josefina Asconapé was born in Buenos Aires and began her career performing jazz standards and chansons in Paris. Now based in Chicago, she's developed a style that fits neatly into the local indie-pop scene, with touches of country and folk thrown into the mix. On "Run, Cowboy, Run," from this year's Starry Dome (Mirasol), Asconapé dabbles in enjoyably low-key western myth-making, with an inevitable shoot-out that results in humiliation but no death; her sweet vocals contrast charmingly with the music's ominously spacious Morricone flourishes. "Chevy '73" is a big-road anthem who's atmosphere is reminiscent of "Ghost Riders in the Sky,” with Joe Darnaby playing reverb-heavy surf guitar and Alex Hall hitting the drums like a whip crack, while Asconapé sings with an improbable southern lilt. "I'll Soon Be Walking” is perhaps the best song on the record. A lovely, coffeehouse country take on Motown, the song contains big beats, girl-group backing vocals, twangy guitar, and millennial laments such as "I keep moving on and rambling / These random roommates are like gambling.” Not every track is so successful; the nostalgic rock romance of "Starry Dome" heads into uncomfortably cloying Billy Joel territory with overdetermined lyrics about dancing by the Chicago lakeside beneath the starry sky. But for the most part, the album will resonate with fans of hooky, intimate songwriting.   v

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