Friday, July 2, 2010

Eddi Reader: Candyfloss and Medicine (1997)

(As published in New Zealand's Real Groove ... )

Eddi Reader
Candyfloss and Medicine
(Reprise/Blanco y Negro)

On her third album since emerging solo from Fairground Attraction, Eddi Reader continues to defy categorization the only way worth doing so: unselfconsciously. There's a winsome obliviousness to all things trendy at the heart of her pop-folk blend that establishes her as a free spirit rather than a "rebel angel"--the title, incidentally, of the best song here. Part classic pop and part lullaby, "Rebel Angel" derives its tension from Reader's wide-awake phrasing of its dreamy lyrics and her dreamy phrasing of its wide-awake ones. "Sugar on the Pill" (available on the U.S. but not the U.K. version of the album), "Medicine," and "Glascow Star" follow suit, with two or three others close behind. No one on the Lilith Fair bandwagon comes anywhere near such a balance, a balance that's more Petula Ronstadt or Joni Newton-John than it is Fiona McLachlan or Jewel Osborne. Among men, only Van Morrison seems like a kindred spirit, but he's a blowhard by comparison. Reader illuminates her reveries with a lightness of touch just heavy enough to keep her candyfloss melodies from floating away.

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