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Tara Jane O'Neil

In Circles

(Quarterstick; US: 12 Sep 2006; UK: 11 Sep 2006)

The latest album from Portland native Tara Jane O’Neil is barren, sparse, and quite precious. From the lullaby instrumental “Primer”, the musician moves into a quasi-Celtic folk feel with “A Partridge Song”, bringing to mind the likes of Judy Collins or Joan Baez.  Downbeat and morose, some of the songs come to life in this framework, especially “The Louder”, which could have come from an Elliott Smith tribute album. O’Neil seems to have a light, flighty timbre in her voice during the simple but elegant “A Sparrow Song”, as does the somber, Cowboy Junkies-tinged “Blue Light Room”, which she shines on from start to finish. Just as gorgeous is the almost hypnotic “Need No Pony” that resembles an acoustic version of an Arcade Fire classic. One number that doesn’t measure up is “The Looking Box”. But generally, O’Neil manages to get the most out of these songs for an engaging, enjoyable, and soothing record.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


Related Articles
13 Feb 2014
Tara Jane O'Neil's latest channels a kind of narcotic cloudiness that makes it surprisingly appropriate for any number of moods.
16 Jun 2009
After the relatively traditional folk of TJO's high water mark, In Circles, A Ways Away finds her turning slightly inward and crafting music that's reminiscent of the first two albums under her own name.
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