Kelli Scarr : Dangling Teeth

California-born singer-songwriter Kelli Scarr has several stories up her sleeve. She’s explored electronica, supplied guest vocals to Moby’s 2009 album, Wait for Me, and sang as part of j.viewz, the brainchild of Brooklyn-based producer, Jonathan Dagan. With her solo effort, Dangling Teeth, Scarr decidedly departs from her past to craft a new chapter – one that is, at once, direct and subtle, timid and twangy, yearning and restrained.

Scarr’s title track opens her solo trek. “Dangling Teeth,” though morbid-sounding, is more Western than horror: The music buzzes and twangs, providing a fitting stage for Scarr’s saccharine vocals – a mix of hipster darling, Zooey Deschanel, and Grammy favorite, Norah Jones. Those very vocals, though, try on a too-forced twang in the regret-tinged second track, “You Could Be So Great.”

That theme bleeds into the middle of Scarr’s disc. A string of stripped- and watered-down tracks takes precious space. From subtle and stumbling (“Thank You”) to hesitant and slow-coming (“Trouble”), Scarr’s latter half tiptoes around what it might have been.

“Our Joy” gives a bit of bluegrass and a heavy, yearning chorus. Almost-closer “It Ain’t Me” brings a welcome sense of variety, with Scarr’s soft and strong sides finally reconciling. It’s an apt denouement to Scarr’s story.

Dangling Teeth is out now on Silence Breaks Records.