Idha

Troublemaker

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Troublemaker is the second offering from Idha and continues the soft, bouncy country-pop of its predecessor. This time out she keeps her husband (shoegazer Andy Bell of Ride on guitar but drops him as producer. Idha and co-producer Charlie Francis open up the sound to include horns and strings making a much more complete release than her debut. Her naïve voice and sexual playfulness make charming pop that's enjoyable fluff reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra or even a Burt Bacharach-era Dionne Warwick. The crunchy California/Brit-pop guitars still chime, chugging along to keep the sound from becoming wispy with folk-rock excess. Like a European Tammy Wynette, Idha sings about being a good girlfriend, frolicking in the tall grass, and driving around in fast cars. Her growth as both an artist and writer is the biggest difference from Melody In. She produces some of the tracks and relies much less on other people's material. Lush arrangements fill out the sound and while they constantly flirt with silliness, they rarely cross the invisible cheese line. Even with her unapologetic worship of American music she has never had any success in the U.S. Its a shame that Troublemaker only came out on the U.K. label Creation Records and never was given a chance to succeed in the U.S., tracks like "Me and Johnny," "Always Been With You," and "Mercy Me" could have easily fit in with the Lilth Fair revolution of 1997.

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