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Erica Smith, Friend Or Foe (Listen Here!)
Erica Smith has a fragile yet pretty vocal style in the vein of Julie Doiron, Aimee Mann and several other "Lilith" like performers. From the opening folk pop of "31st Avenue", Smith could draw comparisons to Joni Mitchell in her early heyday. The sweet harmonies and strings add texture also. "Thanks Just the Same" has a country blues slow dance quality to it that is an early highlight. "Love You All the Way" falls within this genre also, a '50s high school prom track. Another asset is how she sounds best with minimal backing, particularly during the tender "A War Is On". She shifts gears for the murky Mississippi sounds of "Johnny Comes Down to Hilo", another rather solid tune. "Oh Death", which was brought back to life recently by Ralph Stanley, is a creeping funky folk blues song which never loses its momentum nor its tension. Smith makes the most of each moment simply by knowing what she is capable of doing and doing it best. "Rose in Winter" comes off like classic Cowboy Junkies over its seven minutes. It's a very good and consistent album.