Shilpa Ray has a big, brassy and almost husky voice, and she isn’t afraid to use it on “Heaven in Stereo.” In fact, her voice dominates this track in an anti-American Idol kind of way. You see, she isn’t out to flaunt her range or stage some drama for the sake of riches and fame. No, this stuff comes from the gut. When agitated, she gets gravely and growly, like a cross between Chrissie Hynde and Janis Joplin. Meanwhile, The Happy Hookers, her backing band, are more than happy to oblige with a backing track consisting of a rambling ’60s groove, inspired in equal measure by classic rock and soul, one which accents her emotion. It moves as she moves and gets out of the way when her lead lessens its intensity in the chorus, revealing a sharp and smart hook.
Teenage and Torture, the second album by Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers will be released January 18th on Knitting Factory Records.