Nellie McKay, 'Obligatory Villagers' (Hungry Mouse)

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Obligatory Villagers
Critical Mass
Label: Hungry Mouse

by Barry Walters

Having split with Sony after insisting that her second album be a double-disc set like her first, this New York singer/songwriter/pianist knocks out her third, a brisk nine-song set that plays like the breathless first act of a stage musical decrying American fascism. Backed by jazz vets who amplify the hairpin turns of McKay's manic melodies and labyrinthine lyrics, this justified ham spits out pun-filled, potty-mouthed social commentary as flügelhorns honk and xylophones tinkle.

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