Postulate II

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The second in a planned series of three albums, Postulate II takes up where the previous album left off, with one-woman band Laurie K. Newman tackling rough, inspiring grunge/alt-rock and readily making it into her own statement of purpose. Kicking off with "Postulate I" -- quite why this wasn't on the previous album is a mystery, but why explain everything? -- Newman sounds as strong as ever, her vocals a speak-sing statement of purpose that confronts a person, or a situation, with wry anger. It's a good setting of tone for the entire album, which while not constantly fiery in quite that way conveys deep feeling and an edge of sudden desperation as a series of constant themes. Often it's a subtle touch that proves to be the key emotional hook for a song, as with how "Fractured Sun, Fractured Heart" ends with her vocals repeating "For so long" over soft piano as the rest of the music falls away gently, the understated synth orchestration on "Facts That Frustate and Attract," or the appearance of quiet chimes during the break on the all-instrumental "Systematic Minimalism." Newman's ear for deftly inspirational performances hasn't left her either -- "On My Back in the June Night" has a gorgeous piano melody that lifts the brisk riffing and anthemic singing even more, while "Sarah"'s straight-ahead crunch and calmer moments on the verse make for a secret highlight. Postulate II's slight downside is a bit of a samey feeling toward the end (though it makes moments like the rhythmless opening collage of performances on "Strategem" stand out all the more).

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