Unlike most pop songwriters, Rigby understands that a happy ending is just the beginning of something more complicated. "Everyone's cheering while you're taking those vows/ They're hard of hearing when you're asking them...what to do now," she notes in "Down Side of Love," one of the gems on this terrific solo debut.
A wife and mom in her mid-30s—and a fixture on the Manhattan alternative country-rock scene—Rigby has transformed her early-arriving midlife crisis and her fraying marriage into 12 songs that hang intricately crafted stories upon irresistible melodic hooks. Her giddy infatuation with a handsome bookstore clerk in "Knapsack" is quickly tempered in the lilting "Just Someone I Had in Mind." The Dylanesque taunting in "20 Questions" fades into sly seduction. And the album's conclusion, "We're Stronger Than That," offers the most tentative of promises: "Even sugar peas run out of snap/ But maybe we're stronger than that." There are no maybes about Mod—this is a wonderful album. (Koch)