Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte are the duo known as Pomplamoose, and you might know them from their ingenious YouTube covers of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga songs. Here, Dawn steps out on her own with a set of original story-telling tunes delivered in her somewhat fragile-sounding vocal style. Don’t mistake Dawn for a shrinking violet though; on “Back to the Barracks” the story starts with the words, “Shot you in the arm/It was intentional,” and on the singsong-y “Araceli,” the titular subject of the song conspires to kill her husband. Dawn says How I Knew Her is pretty much autobiographical, but it’s unlikely she’s actually so cold-hearted. Rather, this material vividly demonstrates how adept she is at taking a theme that everyone’s familiar with and embellishing it so it seems like the story is being told for the first time ever. There’s subtle yet biting wit too; on “Long Running Joke” she dismisses a self-absorbed person’s problems with the clever brush-off “Blame it on flesh-eating monsters/Or maybe yourself…” And that’s what you’ll experience throughout How I Knew Her, an effort that’s far more engaging than typical singer/songwriter heart-on-the-sleeve fare.

Grade: B