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Sons and Daughters' Scottish Offensive

While Lily Allen, Kate Nash, The Pipettes, and others forcefully insert British accents into their music, Sons and Daughters' Adele Bethel is making like a one-woman Scottish offensive. More than her tone, more than her range, more than whatever feeling she can put behind her vocals, it's that burr — forcing her words to curl around on themselves like jagged hooks — that distinguishes her as a singer.

"The Nest" finds her putting it to use against a more detailed backdrop than she's ever had. It starts out like the ghost of Motown, with Ailidh Lennon's bass and David Gow's drums setting up a booming but skeletal backbeat as Scott Paterson's guitar flits in and out.

Into that cavernous setup steps Bethel, as she sneers her way through a tale of adolescent disappointment with such a barbed tongue that it takes on the dread of gothic horror. "You're ending," she keens in a voice that's all the more menacing for the way she scrapes the top of her register. By the time Paterson fills the room with a distant moan, the song is already haunted.

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Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.