if Portland pop music is a high school, this spring's valedictorian is the band Dear Nora. Their debut effort, "We'll Have a Time" is a stunning album, brilliant in it's intent and perfect in its execution. Not only does Dear Nora present some of the catchiest songs written around these parts, singer-guitarist Katy Davidson and drummer Marianna Ritchey nail their harmonies in combinations seldom imagined. The harmonies, which play off Davidson's expert melodies and clever song structures, make the CD a must for fans of straight - ahead vocal music. There's definitely something very Shirelles going on here. Add to that a dash of, oh let's say Doris Day or Julie London, just to shake things up. From there, the music runs the gamut from early-period Pretenders (the irresistible "'round and 'round") to Lesley Gore ("Since You Went Away," tinged with beautiful major to minor changes). Dear Nora's debut makes a major statement. Its fill with joy, craft, and with its longing lyrics, intrigue. Its also beautifully produces by the Aislers Set's Amy Linton.
- Andy Giegerich, Portland Tribune