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Holly Golightly

Friday, October 10

Her highest-profile gig in this country has been the recent sonic three-way with Jack and Meg on "It's True That We Love One Another," which finishes the White Stripes' Elephant. But across the pond, Ms. Golightly -- and yes, Audrey Hepburn devotees, that is her real name -- is on the A-list of rocker chicks. Since leaving Thee Headcoatees to go solo in 1995, she's upchucked no fewer than eight full-length records and an armload of singles in the UK, but her most recent, Truly She Is None Other, is the one poised to break her on these shores.

On Truly, Golightly's oft-repeated title as the "queen of English garage rock" proves something of a misnomer. The songs are wrapped in guitar reverb, echoes and shimmering early-'60s girl-group cool rather than pounding protopunk chords -- it's more Shangri-La's than Yeah Yeah Yeahs by far. Her flat and choppy but commanding voice on "Walk a Mile" and "You Have Yet to Win" echo this, as do the Frug-tastic turns on a Ray Davies cover, "Time Will Tell."

What producers Phil Spector or Joe Meek could have done with Golightly is something that will tantalize rock nerds for years, and her forays into blues (the fine "Black Night," which is most closely associated with Texas City native Charles Brown) and love cooing (another Davies song, "Tell Me Now So I Know") show she's no one-note wonder. Mostly stripped down on disc, this material will be interesting to see translated live. Though tales of soured relationships and her hardly varying delivery expose her limitations, Holly Golightly lives up to the title of the CD, a real singer with spunk in an era of prefabricated female pop drones.

 
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