Published May 01, 2019Poetic and unique yet relatable best describes Caroline Spence's third full-length album, Mint Condition. After the success of the Charlottesville-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter's 2017 album, Spades & Roses, this latest collection covers a wide range of topics, including love, mental health and trying to make it in the music industry.
Considering Spence wrote ten of these 11 songs, the variety of stories works in her favour, helping paint imagery that keeps the album fresh, yet ties together nicely. "What You Don't Know" is an upbeat, headbanging song that starts like it's from the '90s, with the help of drums, electric guitar, synth and a Wurlitzer. "Angels or Los Angeles," about leaving a negative situation, has a slowed-down tempo and sounds more western, with electric and baritone guitars and slide, while "Long Haul," is a bit of juxtaposition, where the melody is uplifting with guitars and drums, but the lyrics depict the difficulty of being a musician.
Two standouts are "Sometimes a Woman Is an Island," and "Sit Here and Love Me"; the former is an emotional and hauntingly beautiful ballad, depicting the life of a woman who seems okay on the outside, but is struggling on the inside. The latter is a more personalized acoustic and piano-based song about Spence explaining to her significant other about her struggle with depression and anxiety and how he may not fully understand it, but rather than try to make everything better for her, he should continue to be the positive person he is.
Mint Condition is an incredible country-folk album, not only due to crisp and clear storytelling, but Spence's mesmerizing vocals, which have a unique sound of their own, with a hint of Dolly Parton, Lee Ann Womack and Ashley Monroe mixed into one. (Rounder)