Soul can be sourced from many different places within an artist’s sound, but in the case of burgeoning singer/songwriter B.B. Cole, it’s coming forth through her brooding vocal in the new album Outgrowing Ourselves this July. Although steeped in multidimensionality, Outgrowing Ourselves features quite the vocal-centric slew of performances in “When I Was a Little Girl,” “Demons,” and “My Decision” just to name a few select tracks, and I would even go so far as to say that were it not being presented by the talented voice of B.B. Cole, this material just wouldn’t have the resonating pop sensibilities it contains in this record. This is a player who knows how to put a stamp on her songs with much more than poeticism, and it’s all starting with her voice here.
There’s no resistance in the rhythm of “She Gave Me Feathers,” “Some Kind of Religion,” and “Pieces of Me,” and I think that because of the delicate manner in which Cole is able to sew her words into the fabric of the music, we get a better feel for the sonic depth in these tracks than we would have otherwise. Getting technical behind the board can do a lot to emphasize the little details in a player’s sound, but giving us a meticulous look at the music as she performs it here is something so much more powerful in my opinion. She’s got live potential, and anyone who listens to this LP is going to notice that.
I love the contrast in “Wear Your Crown,” “Tears and Fears,” “Emotional Baggage,” and “When I Was a Little Girl,” and I don’t think it would lose its luster on the stage at all. There’s really nothing here that sounds like it’s been connected together through synthetics; truth be told, this is among the more organic LPs of its kind to find its way to my desk all year long. It’s not folky, but instead, a warm strain of country music that owes something to blues, soul, and R&B more than the average content coming out of this genre does, and if it’s giving us any sort of solid look at what we should anticipate from Cole in the future, her time in the elite class of the underground is only just beginning.
Intentionally unsophisticated and a little rough around the edges, Outgrowing Ourselves is an LP that feels as transitional as its title would suggest it could be, and I would even say that it’s giving us a unique look from its creator that might not stand beyond this initial release. There’s still a lot of growth that’s coming into focus across all nine of the songs in this impressive track list, and while it’s got some continuity issues that could be resolved with a bit more attention to detail in certain spots, I don’t believe it was ever meant to be an end-all-be-all statement piece from B.B. Cole. She’s a versatile player, and she’s just starting to show us what she can accomplish.