Canadian songwriter Rachael Cardiello’s 2011 EP, One for the Wind, is a quiet little affair, featuring the classically trained violist’s expressive voice against sparse string arrangements, waltz time signatures, old world acoustic songwriting and classic cabaret atmosphere — like the song “Mandolin; Broken String,” complete with a charming Kurt Weill-inflected piano melody. “This year every song that I’ve written has been on some acoustic instrument,” says Cardiello in an online video promoting the Kickstarter campaign to fund her latest release, “and I think I’ve finally hit my acoustic instrument limit.”
Cardiello wastes no time letting you know you’re in new territory with Warm Electric Winter, recorded last year in Brooklyn. The album opens with the northern soul scorcher “They Always Do,” a ’60s backbeat and Dusty Springfield horn arrangements signal that the waifish folkster of One for the Wind is nowhere to be found this time around. Cardiello’s voice is more assertive; the full-band arrangements broaden her shoulders, open her throat and encourage her hips to sway a bit more seductively. The swingin’ ’60s feel permeates the entire first half of the record; reverb drenched surf-style guitar meeting the swampy stomp of “Soldiers.” The album slumps a bit in the middle; a tough patch of R&B influenced ballads missing the spark of the early up-tempo numbers and the charming character of Cardiello’s otherworldly folksongs.
But just as suddenly as Winter declares a distinct break from One for the Wind, Cardiello the indie-folksinger returns for “Kayak Song” and “Last Night,” with ’60s pop only showing up on the back half of the album with the sweet pre-Beatles confection “Dear Frank.”
Rachael Cardiello plays with Eugene’s Jeffrey Martin 9 pm Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Sam Bond’s; $3.