One year, nearly to the day, following the U.S. release of Doctors & Dealers' first album Confessions of a Drunken Mind, one-woman band Sparrow (aka Sparrow Lindgren) is back with a second collection, Lost Friends and Newfound Habits. This time, the Swedish multi-instrumentalist has moved from her house to a real recording studio, and she's brought along Anders Lager, who also plays a variety of instruments, does some writing (including sole composition of the lead-off track, "On the Dancefloor"), and sings background vocals. Also sitting in to duet on "The Odds Are on Our Side" is Of Montreal's James Huggins. But the album is still the product of Sparrow's quirky, appealing persona, which, musically, mixes pop and rock elements with everything from nursery rhymes to schlager. Like a middle-school child trying to be ABBA, Sparrow displays a gift for simple, catchy melodies and an indiscriminate sense of stylistic taste. This gives her music an ingenuousness that should appeal to fans of American twee pop. Also appealing, if somewhat melancholy, is Sparrow's lyrical stance, which also has a childlike aspect, even in its poignancy. The high point is the delicate ballad "How Many Hours Can a Cat Stay Asleep?," which, as inquiry songs go, is closer to Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do" than Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," in that the singer's real question is, how can she get her boyfriend back? That brings up the album title, which turns out to be apt. It comes to seem that those sturdy, basic musical structures are holding up the singer, who might otherwise swoon from romantic angst. But however wistful things get, Doctors & Dealers never lose their (its? her?) charm.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann