Trying to hold onto one’s self-worth while being emotionally vested in a romantic partner can be a gut-wrenching endeavor. Just ask Jennifer Corday, a local singer-songwriter who makes that dilemma the thematic focus of her band’s debut release.
As the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and lyricist for the local rock band Corday and the Curious, she tackles conflicting needs and emotions. In fact, what makes this Orange-based quartet’s “Naked” so memorable is its emotional honesty.
The 10-song “Naked” finds an authoritative Corday singing about shaking the shackles of codependent relationships. Fueled by the feisty lead guitar licks of Rick Weller, she lashes out in “Water Under the Bridge”: “My dependency is the energy that feeds you/I won’t play defense against your attack.”
In “Jealous Eyes,” Corday vents feelings of anger and bewilderment in her passionate stand against mental and physical abuse. But as the number draws to a close, a soft voice of calm and reason speaks the loudest as she proclaims: “You can’t keep patching things together/All you have is a handful of strings.” (According to Corday, this song inspired a close friend to leave an abusive husband.)
Still, “Naked” is no one-note affair. In “Hold Me,” the song’s protagonist shows a vulnerable side, asking her mate to “hold me like a baby and kiss me like a fool.” And “If You Left” is a desperate, near-humiliating plea to keep a lover from skipping out.
Although Corday is a wonderful storyteller, the group’s musicianship is lacking. Despite its occasional acoustic flavoring, the foursome--also featuring bassist Robby Trujillo and drummer Kyle Zeiler--succumbs to generic, mainstream rock formulas.
It’s not fatal in up-tempo selections such as “Water Under the Bridge” and the contagious “Jump Start.” But the dearth of invention sours both “Back to Reality” and the title track. Even worse is a virtual clone, “New Generation,” of the Jefferson Airplane’s classic “Volunteers.”
(Available at Virgin Megastores, selected Tower Records and Borders Books & Music, or from Envy Records, 1442 E. Lincoln Ave., Suite 418, Orange, CA 92865. (714) 998-3783.)
* Corday and the Curious will perform Saturday at the Taste of Orange County, El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. 3:30 p.m. Event admission: $8, adults; $3, children. (714) 753-1551.
Ratings range from * (poor) to **** (excellent), with three stars denoting a solid recommendation.