The latest single from Angie and the Deserters, “17 Days”, is culled from her full length album release You and shows off her mastery of mid tempo bluesy shuffles. The latest track has some musical bite, despite its laid back approach, and the production is so on the money that it plays every bit as seamlessly on the first listen as it does on the tenth. The song’s focus is certainly on singer/songwriter Angie Bruyere’s note perfect and undoubtedly sincere love for both blues and country music, spiked with a pinch of rock and roll, but she has a crack band behind her to help pull off the deceptively simple arrangement. Songs like this require more timing to pull off than you think. Things have to turn at the right moment, peaks have to be hit a certain way, and if any part of the machinery isn’t necessarily oiled, things will invariably grind to a less than graceful halt; there’s no danger of that here however. Instead, Angie and the Deserters will have you convinced you’re in capable hands seconds in and never let you down.
Her voice is what makes everything go. With Bruyere’s voice in the center of it all, “17 Days” is a rollicking instrumental without the same context. Add Bruyere’s remarkable pipes to the mix and there’s magic instead. She takes a fine lyric and makes it something even greater thanks to the emphatic and highly musical nature of her vocal by tying her voice tightly to the arrangement Embodying the song’s rugged emotions, however, makes the biggest difference of all. She sings in a near constant waver between caustic indifference and weary resignation and brings a sense of drama to it all that never seems overwrought. Listeners shouldn’t underestimate the effect it has on a song. Bruyere is one of those truly great singers capable of taking over a performance while still enhancing everything around her.
One of the chief qualities of the arrangement is the utter lack of self indulgence present in the band’s playing. Instead, Angie and the Deserters play with just enough abandon and swing that it draws a listener’s attention and keeps it. The flashes of lead guitar slicing out of the arrangement gives the track an added bite it might otherwise lack and incorporating those touches in this song brings just the right amount of pizzazz to the song without ever upsetting its musical balance. “17 Days” is aimed at just the right length and the attentiveness of both the performance and songwriting pays off in one of the best tracks yet released from her latest studio album You. She’s more than just a great vocalist, however; there’s a clear bravery in how she dares to write about the casual sex and random drug use we might associate with a male rocker’s point of view. She is writing from her heart and experiences, throwing aside all possible restraints, and this music breathes as a result.