Amy LaVere, 'Stranger Me' (Archer)

8
Stranger Me
Critical Mass
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Label: Archer

by Peter Gerstenzang

Part winsome alt-country gal and part avenging angel, Amy LaVere has made the breakup album of the year. Starting with "Damn Love Song" (imagine a swampier "Hell's Bells"), LaVere shoots one poisoned pop arrow after another at her ex. "You Can't Keep Me" sports a hostage's plea and an ominous organ that recalls Steve Nieve's shadowing of Elvis Costello. "GreatDivide" traffics in tricky, Talking Heads time signatures while lamenting the spaces between lovers. LaVere sounds like a gifted kidnap victim -- scared, angry, resourceful. You just know she's going to set herself free.

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