Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Margaret Glaspy

  • If & When [Storysound, 2013] *
  • Emotions and Math [ATO, 2016] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

If & When [Storysound, 2013]
In 2013 still a work in progress, especially as regards her low end ("Cynthia," "You're Smiling [But I Don't Believe You") *

Emotions and Math [ATO, 2016]
The title song is about what it says it's about--"Counting the days till you're back," to be precise. But it also announces Glaspy's aesthetic strategy. Nominally she's a singer-songwriter, applying a voice labeled both lilting and gravelly but that I'd just peg as adult to songs that always make room for feelings we needn't assume are always hers. But she's even more striking as a guitarist, running a thick, rockish sound through a harmonic palette that suits both a Berklee dropout who audited master classes after she couldn't afford tuition and a Texan who got hip to passing chords playing backup fiddle with her musical family. Although her music is cleaner and clearer, she sounds like Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis if she sounds like anybody. But with Glaspy you have a clearer bead on whatever love the song is about--just not whether it's hers. A-