Sara Melson has always distanced herself from the pack of pretty (but pretty forgettable) singer/songwriters by staging visceral live shows and releasing a series of beautiful EPs. Sara's voice packs the phonetic warmth and emotional wallop of Neko Case; and the brutal, raw vulnerability of early Liz Phair. The tango of her breathtaking vocals and a soaring, cinematic guitar solo on an early version of "Happy Endings" is one of favorite musical moments this decade. That said, my expectations were high for her major label debut, "Dirty Mind" and I'm thrilled to report this glistening disc does not disappoint. The album kicks off with a triumphant battle cry (Feel it Coming) that is one of the most euphoric album openers since Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)." Every song from there on builds the momentum. "Anywhere Anytime" is sped up, and dare I say it, a bit country-fied from an earlier version - and it is a blast to listen to. In fact, many of her early demos receive dramatic re-interpretations on the album, providing a real treat for her longtime fans. When you listen to Sara's exquisite lyrics, you remember the lovers you let slip away and later realized were too good for you. "Never Been Hurt" (which provided the soundtrack for the spellbinding season finale of "South of Nowhere") just may be the most candid, brutally honest song about the beginning of a relationship since Material Issue's "The Very First Lie." All of the songs provided here successfully walk the same line - themes anyone falling into and out of love can identify with, wrapped in haunting melodies and monster hooks that would become timeless radio classics in a perfect world. In many ways, this solo debut feels like more like a band album, since Karl D'amico (guitar), Kane McGee (drums) and Austin Nicholsen (bass) are clearly ready to blow the roof off arenas with these songs. One final critique: Sara is the latest in a string of adventurous singings by Nettwerk (Ladytron, Felix da Housecat). Any other label would have probably urged the producers to over-process Sara's vocals so she would sound just like everyone else. Thankfully, the vocals remain pure and the songs will be just as powerful in twenty years as they are today.