Said the Gramophone | June 1st, 2012

“Perhaps this speaks more to the unusual musical proclivities of my adolescence than it does to the quality of Erin Costelo’s baritone voice, but when Costelo sings, she reminds me most of all of Genesis-era Peter Gabriel. Costelo doesn’t sound like Gabriel exactly, and more often than not, her jazz-inflected, sprawling pop songs owe a greater debt to the composer of “Big Yellow Taxi” than to the man behind “Carpet Crawlers.” It’s in the way Costelo acts the parts of her songs’ protagonists that she recalls Gabriel and his ability to inhabit his many characters and convincingly sing in their voices. In the two versions of “The Trouble and the Truth,” the careful ballad that begins and ends Costelo’s new EP of the same name, the singer and pianist shows us how a melody’s meaning depends upon its frame. The first part – rumbling organ, lonely and reflective – sounds like a distant but formative memory; while the second part, in which Costelo sings more vigorously, accompanied by church-reverb piano and an affectingly unsteady male voice, seems vital and immediate. Only because of the Gabriel-like evocativeness of Costelo’s arrangements and delivery can we hear that she begins her album at its end and ends it at its beginning.”
jordan himelfarb, Said the Gramophone