Steeped in heartache and Mexi-Cali dust, The Heart Breaks is the album Pauline Andrès was born to write. Bearing the brunt of pain on songs such as “No Tienes Corazón” and the Bakersfield-inflected “If It’s Over”, Andrès exacts lyrical revenge on the emboldened “Drive Like Steve McQueen” and country kiss off “If Only You Had Called”.
Equal parts Lucinda Williams and drunken angel, Andrès pays homage to the former with booze-riddled honesty on the swooning “Broken Hearted,” singing, “World Without Tears / Is still the best thing I’ve heard / But I don’t wanna sing / About black-feathered birds.” Playing the latter on “Salt & Sugar” with its feathery rhythms, Andrès’ wry wit is on display, hope and menace lurking in the lines, “I wish to be happy with you / I’ve seen stranger things come true / But maybe you like it better / With more salt than sugar.”
Not all is dire on The Heart Breaks. Backed by a cadre of musicians, including Nashville pedal steel player Andy Ellison, New York drummer Mike Vecchione, Italian trumpeter Stefano Chiappo and producer/multi-instrumentalist Jack Davis, the passport-weilding Andrès and her sultry croon that have settled in Berlin, take comfort in “A Reason to Come Home” while the weary waltz of unapologetic outlaw opener “Broken Record” places Andrès in the shoes of her Americana idols with tongue firmly planted in cheek, signifying what’s to come with the next 11 songs of her sophomore album.
Detailing the highs and lows of a Friday night and voicing their aftermath, the unfiltered tales on The Heart Breaks are penned from experience. A heart-wrenching lyricist whose words cut to the bone, Andrès has taken a giant step forward from her enchanting 2014 debut, All Them Ghosts. As Lucinda’s World Without Tears is to Andrès, The Heart Breaks ranks among the best albums I’ve heard this year. Vinyl Worthy, you can stream “No Tienes Corazón” below and purchase The Heart Breaks via Andrès, Amazon or iTunes.