Playing her way from the subways and streets of London and Boston, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Mary Lou Lord broke into the indie rock scene in 1994 on the Kill Rock Stars label. After appearing on a KRS compilation, Lord released a self-titled EP in 1995 and a second EP, ‘Martian Saints’, in early 1997. In 1998 she released her major label debut ‘Got No Shadow’, a sonic partnership with spiritual brother Nick Saloman from The Bevis Frond, reissued by Fire Records on 2018.
A stellar cast of musicians includes Elliott Smith, Roger McGuinn, Jon Brion and Money Mark. It’s the phrasing, the total control of the melancholy button, the misheard lyric, the backslap of the snare and the super-mellow 12-string, making way for a grunge-lite cocktail that makes ‘Got No Shadow’ sound like you’ve heard it a million times before. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, regret, regret, regret. This is an album caught in time.
A spine-tingling one liner, a word or two stolen from the hits of yore, a title that’s by someone else and a cover of a blues classic that makes it sound like it was strummed out in a bedsit after a heavy night, this collection of songs is the soundtrack of a rags to riches late ‘90s modernist who pulls in friends, allies and concubines to make their story ever more intriguing.
Facts are, Mary Lou Lord was joined by The Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman, they jammed, covered ‘Shake It Sugaree’ with Elliott Smith on guitar and the studio swelled with the likes of Jon Brion, Roger McGuinn, Money Mark, Ethan Johns and a host of others. The party had jangle. Plenty.
Previously Mary Lou Lord had travelled, busked – New York, Seattle, London. She wrote her own tunes and teamed up with the Frond in the UK enjoying the beauty of the Lea Valley before taking her wares from Walthamstow to the world.
Signed to Work during the late ‘90s, those easy beginnings were polished to perfection; Bill Maher produces on the awesome ‘Lights Are Changing’. In LA ‘Got No Shadow’ took shape around Mary Lou’s alluring vocal. Tales of the misspent resonate, stories unfold, it is a moment in time, some miles from the pool table she slept under post-busk but harking back with some kind of fondness.
“A beautifully performed/recorded pop confection.” Record Collector
“This first substantial statement has aged gracefully.” Uncut