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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Raianne Richards
Self Titled (CD)

With all the current furor over hyper mass-media creations like those of American Idol you might not think there are actually a lot of really excellent young female indie solo acts. But they do exist if you truly dig around a bit: Mirah, Shannon Wright, Edith Frost, Rebecca Pearcy, Lori Carson, Anamude, Chan Marshall, to name a few. Even Liz Phair might qualify before she herself was sucked down the vortex in the clutches of money, money and money. You have to dig to find them though. The new creations that major radio bring us have no other redeeming qualities other than being young. Youth, wonderful youth. It all comes down to riding out at us with fresh-eyed guns drawn and the aura of invincibility.

Raianne Richards may indeed be young at 19, but at least she's not commodity being shoved down our throats by some marketing dork. In fact, the songstress writes and plays her own brand of honest acoustic folk on her own terms and while the music doesn't try to revolutionize, at least it doesn't overtly copy any one artist. If I find myself tacking "at least..." to a lot of my comments then forgive me for repeatedly giving her the benefit of the doubt but I've got only 15 minutes to write this review. Yeah, welcome to my world... snap judgement guesses in 15 minutes. So, since I mostly like what I hear so far: hello Mr. Benefit of the Doubt. Ok, off the soapbox.

The opener "Blood Runs Deep" sort of turned me off in the manner the vocals were presented, but the folk pop of "Open Your Eyes" is tenderly sung like a Rebecca Pearcy song. The overall presentation of the songs is not glitzy at all, which suits this style of bare country music well. "Tired Eyes" was a good example of this, a simple acoustic guitar plunking along with Raianne's quiet voice accompanying. In "Crazy Boy", the repeated refrain of "drive me crazy" could have indeed started to drive me crazy, but luckily was kept to only 2 and a half minutes. This one did remind me of a Liz Phair tune. "Luna" is a really nice ballad and "Commotion" closes out the album with hushed "vocals" and a fast bassline that is strangely compelling in the context of the song.

Here is the bottom line: I hate American Idol. Give me Raianne Richard's music any day over that travesty.

- review by SHORTY (1.14.05)        

Nobody's Favorite Records
34 West Main St.
Dudley, MA 01571

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