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Alice Smith
For Lovers, Dreamers And Me
Epic Records


While the implied promise of a Kermit the Frog cover goes unfulfilled, there is a Muppetish quality to many of the selections. The piano plunks out bright primary colors thick enough for chubby little hands to grasp. Rollicking sing-along's like the first single "Dream" invite listener participation, but ultimately block Ms. Smith from achieving her full potential as a neo-soul chanteuse. Occasionally the ill-fitting tinker toy arrangements make way for a brilliant "Gary Song" or "Desert Song" in which two of Smith's alleged four octaves are evidenced. (This according to Epic's P.R. lackeys posing as normal blogging netizens.) Digging down to a sexy Cleopatra Jones' funk, her vocal control takes precedent over timbre falling somewhere between Erika Badu and Sade but stamped by her own unique warble. Slamming American Idolotry, the clever "Fake Is The New Real" jabs, "Full speed ahead/ rock and roll is dead/ the girls and boys from the Mickey Mouse Club/ clocked it in the head." The stretched measures of "Know That I…" drag achingly into a rousing stomp. It feels like the handlers have gotten hold of Ms. Smith, trying too hard to shape and form her marketable assets. If not, it's too bad, because the mark has been mostly missed with vocal slides too similar from song to song and patronizing arrangements. The platform is too rickety to support such obvious potential.

-Ewan Wadharmi


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