Plainclothes Tracy / Press

“This winning five-song EP presents Knoxville’s best-dressed indie-pop quartet as understated cool kids, with catchy tunes backing up Kym Hawkins’ sly, slurry purr. The band is fine—Brian Kelly’s guitars shimmer in all the right places, and the rhythm section of Eric Grass and Trey Trowbridge gives it all plenty of lope—but Hawkins is the key. Her off-kilter lyrics are full of fleeting glimpses of places and people and relationships. “You left your sexy metal shirt on the floor,” she observes in “These Ideas,” and then half-shoots the boy down by adding, “I never really heard the band before.” She sings with an almost jazzy cadence that can imbue a line like “I’m so impressed by this new system, it’s so effective” with some of the quiet sarcasm of the young Elvis Costello. There’s nothing plain about Hawkins, and this is an impressive calling card.”

“If Plainclothes Tracy got its start, in some sense, in punk-pop, it’s come a long way since. The songs on the new CD are heady, ruminative, sometimes with just a hint of folk, mindful of both ’90s indie and so-called adult alternative. Hawkins—whose mother is Karen Hawkins, a New York Times best-selling author of historical romances—is the centerpiece of it all. Her clever wordplay and her performance chops make simple songs indelible. Take the disc’s lead-off track, “Fort Knox Graffiti,” a song about the strange little things you notice when you’re falling in love with someone. Hawkins’ breathy verse falls somewhere between a rap and stream-of-consciousness, with all kinds of been-there-done-that flotsam popping in and out of her run-on verbal flow.”