Dylan Hammett – 13 Steps

ive=9325&creativeASIN=B001SAQVDQ”>Green Day ‘s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”‘ is stripped and sterile, as is “You Belong To Me,” which would be ethereal if the lush, legato cello weren’t masked by church-worship guitar work. “Good News” is a bad-news Juliana Hatfield , and “Supernova” collapses into a black hole of chorus effect and undulating percussion, but despite its struggles, “13 Steps” has two very worthy highlights that bookend the 12-song disc.

Album opener “It’ll Be a While” is resolute’ a skin- and history-shedding ode to new beginnings. It’s perky and bittersweet, with double-tracked vocals and big choruses, where Hammett exclaims, “I wanna smell my coffee and say things like ‘I swear’ / I wanna run down the road and say, ‘You had to be there’ / To watch the sun come up and shake hands with the sky / It feels so much better to get to know why.” The piano-peppered closer, “Someone Once Told Me of the Night,” is a delight. Amid a twinkle of twangy keys, lively drums and driving bass, Hammett is a grand success at tapping a into a bit of Sara Bareilles and Vanessa Carlton.

Songs stem from stories spurred by experience, and while the 20-year-old’s short history and struggles might be compelling, her voice isn’t illustrative of her ideas. She has a bell-clear, confident voice that belies her age, but might be better served by songs that she’s not the focus of; perhaps observations or stories cast with other characters and their experiences would better match her tone.

Hammett performs 8 p.m. Friday at Libby’s Caf

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