added: 20 Oct 2012
// release date: 17 Sep 2012 // label: Proper
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
The title of Aimee Mannís new album says it all, and while she may question the sincerity of charm and the charming, sheís guilty of it as this album slinks up and takes you, eventually.
The title track and opener grabs immediately with its incessant bass, on which rides Ms Mannís vocals and a melody that just gets crawls into the mind. Thereís Disappearedís lazy ambience coupled with Labradorís simple piano led ballad.
These three are pretty much a template for the album. A certain laidback southernish, countryish, Americana, je ne sais quoi that could easily dismissed as background fluff for the dinner party.
But itís deceptive as there are a couple of levels working here. On a first listen many of these songs sound bare and a tad similar; the basic underlying rhythm doesnít vary that much. But cleverly Ms Mann and friends have built on these elements and added textures that take the songs out of the mundane, keep them interesting and the listener coming back.
There are Crazytownís quirky synths, Living A Lie with its more off-beat instrumentation or the synth and fuzzy guitar combination of Gamma Ray. The album closes strongly with the gorgeously spacey Barfly and the more downbeat Red Flag Driver.
Thereís not a lot of flab on this record. The songs arenít particularly long, the production is clear but not buffed to Mr Universe levels. All in all itís an efficient seduction, and best of all its unlikely that anyoneís going to feel grotty or used afterwards.
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