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Liz Cooper: Hot Sass

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Liz Cooper: Hot Sass

Mike Ayers on November 4, 2021

The title track of Liz Cooper’s sophomore album Hot Sass is nothing like we’ve heard from her before. It’s a dirgy assault of garage-rock guitars—a White Stripes fantasy that is dropped onto the album like a bomb. Cooper is flipping the script with Hot Sass, taking the country-folk rock of her past, and mostly shedding it for something a lot harder to grasp, both sonically and in terms of the arrangement. This album feels risky—and that’s the point Cooper is trying to make. But it works. For instance, the eight[1]minute number “Lucky Charm” starts off with a clopping beat that revolves around Western-sounding guitar lines, building a wall of psychedelics for nearly three-and-a-half-minutes before Cooper’s vocals kick in. On the lead single “Slice of Life,” Cooper brings that guitar assault into the forefront, as she passionately sings about life at “the palace,” where post-it notes line the walls with just the word R.I.P. on them. On “Motorcycle,” she interjects some ‘90s-sounding spunk into an ode to life on two wheels. And the cinematic closer “Smoke Break,” the album’s comedown, is situated in a melodic piano, while other atmospheric flourishes pop up; vocals are absent, and it too is nothing like the rest of the album. When an artist evolves, it always includes some inherent risk. In the case of Hot Sass, Cooper clearly wants to push the envelope in what she can do with a song, but also how she can construct a record. Hot Sass is a fantastic next step for Cooper; there’s excitement around every corner.

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