Paula Kelley

Nothing/Everything

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The debut full-length release from former Boy Wonder power popster Paula Kelley, Nothing/Everything is a varied set of pristine, pretension-free pop. Making various stops along the American pop continuum, from '50s balladry to bubblegum, Kelley's deceptively complex approach yields an undeniably gratifying union of clean guitars, cute harmonies, and soaring melodies. If only she were a little more convoluted and psychedelic, she could probably gain membership into the crowds usually dominated by the likes of the Apples in Stereo and Of Montreal, but Kelley's strengths ultimately lie in the fact that she can present her pop confections without hiding behind surreal or distorted imagery. Her lean reedy voice turns out to be the perfect vehicle for the twee-ish "Two Possible Answers (The Road)" and the breezily laid-back "All Request Hour," dispensing narrations on modern life with a clever wit and without a hint of self-pity. Overall, an impressively varied and accomplished release.

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