Dirty Dollhouse Comes Clean with 25 Shades EP

Folk, pop, Americana, opera–Chelsea Mitchell‘s music has been called many things, some more accurate than others. Now, teamed up with her gal pals and fellow songstresses Vanessa Winters (of genre-defying Philly group the Lawsuits) and Amber Twait, Mitchell’s songs take on a distinctly folksy, country feel, as though she stopped through Nashville on the way to the recording studio.

25 Shades is the debut EP from this trio, dubbed Dirty Dollhouse. The album is a quick listen, at only four songs coming in around fifteen minutes of music. But don’t be fooled–though short, the EP is quality. Each of the songs delivers a lovelorn punch and the signature storytelling of Mitchell’s songwriting, a testament to her days as an English student at Temple University. The production (by Brian Dale Allen Strouse, also of the Lawsuits) is clean and balanced, letting the songs shine through. And perhaps most importantly, the record is a true showcase of the harmonies that make up Dirty Dollhouse’s appeal; Mitchell’s piercing-yet-airy soprano is surrounded by warmer low tones from Twait, and buoyed by the “creamy middles” presented by Winters.

A quick tour through 25 Shades starts with the rollicking folk of the title track (see video below). The trio of vocalists (and Mitchell’s guitar) is backed up by a solid lineup of instrumentalists, including John Hildenbrand (Kalob Griffin Band) on piano, Brad Hinton (Hezekiah Jones) on lap steel, and a couple of the Lawsuits, Josh Friedman and Brian Dale Allen Strouse, filling out the rest of the sound. Perhaps it’s this lineup of musicians that keeps the folk and old country sound moving throughout the rest of the record; Hinton’s lap steel playing sways just as smoothly as the vocal harmonies in the sparse phrases of “Old Fires”, and Hildenbrand’s piano helps bring the honky tonk character of “Shake All Over” to life. The exception to this rule is the final track of the album, where Kate Bernhardt (Bernhardt Family Band) joins the girls to complete the choir sound on “Anna Lee”.

Take a look at the official video (filmed by Caitlin McCann, Dog Days Films) for “25 Shades”, below, and you’ll get just a taste of what you can find in Dirty Dollhouse’s debut EP. 25 Shades is available for purchase now on the Dirty Dollhouse bandcamp page.

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