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Garrison Starr
The Sound Of You And Me
Vanguard Records

Produced by noted power popsters Neilson Hubbard and Brad Jones, singer-songwriter Garrison Starr's latest CD, The Sound of You and Me, is influenced equally by the work of Patty Griffin, Mindy Smith, Melissa Etheridge, and Sheryl Crow. Like the best work of each of these artists, The Sound of You and Me features the lyrical and vocal intimacy of traditional singer-songwriter fare against catchy power pop, blues, rock, and folk backing. Above all, The Sound of You and Me is a collection of three- and four-minute pop songs about disenchantment, lost love, and loneliness.

The high point of The Sound of You and Me comes immediately with the opener "Pendulum." A minimalist folk-pop song that crescendos into a string-infused rock bridge, "Pendulum" finds Starr pining for a former lover whom she still loves. The Sound of You and Me takes its name from the following track, "Let Me In." A country-rock ballad, "Let Me In" features a melody that easily gets stuck in your head. "Sing It Like a Victim" and "Pretending" hover between Americana and folk - both with pop sheen and heavy percussion. Here again, Starr has written lilting melodies that stick with you even after the CD has finished.

The second half of The Sound of You and Me veers off unexpectedly into heavier rock and power pop territory. "Beautiful in Los Angeles" is an all-out rocker about lost love, infused with wailing guitars, while " Kansas City, Kansas" is a wistful tale of disenchantment set to bluesy guitar riffs and a driving drum beat that kicks into a power pop chorus. Then, just as quickly, the folk influences return with "Black and White," a tender guitar folk song about addiction. "Cigarettes and Spearmint" is another highlight - a haunting, minimalist folk-pop ballad set to acoustic guitar, strings, and piano flourishes. "No Man's Land" finds Starr taking another musical detour into rock territory, only to return again to twangy folk-pop with the Lucinda Williams-esque "We Were Just Boys and Girls."

Taken individually, the songs on The Sound of You and Me provide a delightful listening experience. The album as a whole, however, is uneven, with incongruous songs placed together seemingly at random. In fact, The Sound of You and Me has the feel of two separate albums that have been thrown together indiscriminately. Only Starr's pop melodies and her introspective lyrics save The Sound of You and Me from such flaws.

- Tracy M. Rogers

Track List:
1. Pendulum
2. Let Me In
3. Sing It Like a Victim
4. Pretending
5. Big Enough
6. Beautiful in Los Angeles
7. Kansas City, KS
8. Black & White
9. Cigarettes and Spearmint
10. No Man's Land
11. We Were Just Boys and Girls

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