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Randi Russo

Fragile Animal

(Hidden Target Recordings; US: 29 Mar 2011; UK: 29 Mar 2011)

Eclectic mix from talented alt-rock diva

Randi Russo’s third studio album, following Solar Bipolar (2002) and Shout Like a Lady (2006), covers a lot of ground: singer-songwriter introspection in “Get Me Over,” thumping rock attitude in “Alienation,” piano-driven balladry in “Invitation,” swirling folk-psychedelia in “I Am Real.” Throughout the record, Russo and producer Paul Megna seem to have approached each song with the self-conscious desire to do something sonically different from the previous track. For the most part, this adds up to an eclectic batch of lively tunes, with the aforementioned “Alienation” and the equally thrashy “Head High” as the standout tunes. Even when the tempos slow down, Russo’s tough-but-vulnerable voice capably carries songs like “Swallow” and the epic closing track “Restless Raga.” Looking for a new favorite no-nonsense female vocalist with a sweetly satisfying ear for pop songcraft? This might be her.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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