The old saying says you can’t judge a book by its cover. No such problem with Kirsten Thien’s Delicious, her third recording. Packaging is deluxe, with a sultry Thien posed seductively on the cover. There are also a number of alluring shots inside. It’s an accurate reflection of the slinky, sexy vibe that positively permeates Delicious.
Thien’s breathy, intimate delivery doesn’t always work, but when it does the results are scintillating. Most of the arrangements are big and bold, with lots of brassy swagger, in contrast to Thien’s somewhat thin voice. But she’s smart, and as the package would suggest, she knows how to use what she’s got to excellent effect.
Thien covers a lot of bases here, from the horn-heavy Memphis strut of “Love That’s Made To Share,” that kicks things off, to the all-acoustic “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues,” a duet between Thien on guitar and guest Billy Gibbons on harmonica. Thien’s take on Willie Dixon’s “Ain’t Superstitious” is more re-invention than cover, while the title track invokes original sin (and that notorious apple) as a metaphor for sexual desire. It’s a pervasive theme – both “Please Drive” (featuring distinctive fretwork from guest guitarist Hubert Sumlin) and John Tiven’s “Taxi Love” are unabashedly carnal. “Ain’t That The Truth” is a shimmery ballad that lets Thien show her softer side, while “Get Outta The Funk, Get Into The Groove” is about as self-explanatory as it gets.
A spoken-word interlude in “Treat ‘Im Like A Man” seems a bit too much of an interruption, but the disc includes ‘radio edits’ of this one as well as “Taxi Love,” dropping the break from the former and removing some of the racier bits from the latter. Sex has always been an integral element in the blues, of course, but Thien wisely keeps things seductively naughty without degenerating into decadence.
Thien’s a savvy and astute artist who knows exactly what she’s doing and who’s determined to make a musical mark. Delicious may not qualify as essential listening, but she’s definitely one to watch …