She commands a flexibility of language reminiscent less of Regina Spektor or Ingrid Michaelson, artists Reina del Cid is often compared to, but more of Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath. Yet there is a Newtonian balance of forces in Reina del Cid’s band: for every droll phrase or inventive image pushing the music toward the realm of the cerebral, there is a corresponding musical contribution from the richly talented Toni Lindgren. The young guitarist is adept at orchestrating and fleshing out the skeletons of del Cid’s songs into an engaging brand of pop rock, equal parts stratified and accessible. These lyrical and musical forces have never combined more compellingly than in the band’s sophomore album, The Cooling.
In 2012, Reina del Cid began a weekly residency at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in downtown St. Paul where she played with her band every week for nearly two years. It is in such locales—dimly lit by candles, astir with the clinking of wine glasses—that artists often shed their cocoons. Del Cid, a naturally introverted bookworm, used this regular stage to lay down the blueprints for what would become her characteristic self-effacing stage banter. Flash forward two years to 2015’s The Cooling: the band is freshly emerged from the pressure cooker of more than 300 shows over two years both in their hometown and on national tours—tighter, bolder, and more sophisticated in style and form. Del Cid has blossomed into an authentic storyteller, a kaleidoscope of onstage charm. It is the kind of metamorphosis one might expect from all those nights of experimentation in front of live audiences.