With the resurgence of the folk genre, it is easy to write off Restaurants & Bars as average or “typical,” but it needs to be given a fair spin. Amy Besunartea’s lilting voice on this album is so reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan (Cranberries) and Sarah McLachlan that a recheck of the cover is necessary. However, she manages a slightly prettier sound on this well-mannered debut record of songs inspired by her career as a waitress and what she learned about herself along the way.
Some girls they glow in darkness
But by our standards that’s not much
Some girls they’d like to win
But instead they’ll serve you lunch
Not an album of working class dirges, Restaurants and Bars is simply crafted and elegantly produced with classic folk three-chord structure of pretty songs. Gems that stand out from the pack are the jaunty “I Lie Awake All Night, But That’s All Right” and the downright beautiful two closing tracks “The Light” and “Rope” (live!). There are kitchy folksy moments in “Doubles” that makes one think of Mitch and Mickey from “A Mighty Wind,” but that’s not such a bad thing if it raises a smile. Humble and vaguely dreamy, the clarity and sincerity of Restaurants & Bars is certainly a comforting listen on a rainy day (with a cup of tea and a favourite sweater) or on a day with some down time that affords an opportunity to enjoy such a sweet and unpretentious record.