On a trio of new CDs, fresh female voices sing about love and loss—in a whisper or a shout.
The soft but assured vocals of Miranda Lee Richards cast a glow upon the delicate, '60s-inspired folk-pop on her new CD, Light of X (Nettwerk). The chiming guitars, strings, and piano shine with a melancholy dreaminess, and so do Richards's lyrics (Finally, there's something / I can hold on to that isn't broken).
Already a star in her native Canada, Serena Ryder attacks a lyric like a young Melissa Etheridge. Her earthquake vibrato adds urgency to the pop-rock on Is It O.K. (Atlantic), in the excoriating "Little Bit of Red" or the wistful "Weak in the Knees." She's not subtle, but neither is a heart full of passion.