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Lisa Richards | Not Quite So Low (Laughing Outlaw)
Now this is more like it ?? some music to make you sit up and take notice and go "woo, what is this?" There's a voice with power and range, strange arrangements, and songs that really stick. And there're few stickier than I Don't Think So ?? a slow doomy beat and cute plucking over which the woman sings swoopy verses and a downbeat chorus about a man who thinks he's it, but ain't. The rest tend to be more upbeat, but it's the voice you come back to every time as it does all sorts of tricks, without descending to contrived gymnastics. She sounds special, take my word for it. And the songs are all so damn memorable too. On any disc a few songs will tend to lodge in the mind, but here they all do. This consistency is rare, is it not? (But you can't forgive her that title, surely? ?? Ed) Folk pop is what you'd call it, I suppose, as it combines strumming and hooks, but darker influences murk up the blend too. There's even a cute song about anorexia called Waif. Ms R is Australian, but spent most of the '90s performing and writing in New York and, since moving to Texas in 1998, is now getting noticed lots touring surrounding states and folk festivals. Getting noticed at a conference in Austin by Laughing Outlaw records has lead, eventually, to this release. It's a full disc - eighteen tracks - consisting of songs from her self-released 1997 debut (also called 'Not Quite So Low') and last year's 'Undergrounding', which was available exclusively through MP3.com. We're not told which are which, but I'd guess the later ones are the earlier ones, if you see what I mean. You'll love 'em all, though, believe me. It's good to see the Laughing Outlaw label progressing from the solid to the sparkling too.

Jeff Cotton
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002

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