The Shape of Sounds

Just a couple of albums into a presumably tough career trying to distinguish herself from the crowd of young Austin singer-songwriters, Claire Domingue has already made it clear that she has something more going for her than just talent: she has class. The benefit of the doubt is that she exemplifies it in real life, because her songs speak to kindness and dignity in a world that could use a little more of both. It’s easy to gravitate to the well-drawn protagonists in songs like “In Her Way” and “After Everything” that endeavor to let go in love and make some compassionate sense of it all (“It might be easier to stay/But it’s not better” is gonna hit a nerve or two out there, along with a lot of Domingue’s lines). The Shape of Sounds’ small budget is occasionally evident, but Domingue comes off like the creative inhabitant that makes a modest home into a culturally offbeat palace by covering some classical piano here, singing in French there (“Quelquefois”), and bringing in some chamber-music strings when the guitars aren’t enough. It’s offbeat and not for the cynical, but highly recommended for the rest. — MIKE ETHAN MESSICK