Sally Crewe / Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves

Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

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Once upon a time not so long ago, Sally Crewe would have been the dream girl of any self-respecting skinny tie-wearing new wave guy -- she's cute in an unfussy manner, she writes solid pop tunes boasting equal parts muscle and sass, she plays guitar with an appropriately lean and mean intensity, and her rhythm section backs her with the same fire and efficiency that Joe Jackson used to get from his sidemen. All this makes Crewe something of an anomaly since it's 2008 rather than 1979, but on her third full-length album Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, Crewe and her band the Sudden Moves never for a moment sound as if they're living in the past -- this is great pop-minded rock & roll crafted in a style that sounds timeless in this context. Crewe has pared back her obsession with cars to a mere one song on this set ("Black Cars"), while most of Your Nearest Exit is devoted to pithy and seemingly well-informed meditations on the male/female relationship, from the reasonable demands of "Kiss Me Like You Mean It" to the wary codependence of "Magnet," though she also finds room to comment on the Night Owl lifestyle ("Hold Tight") and what fashion mistakes truly say about a person ("How Can People Wear That Stuff"). Culled from sessions recorded over the space of a couple years (some of which previously appeared on Crewe's Ten Minute Moment of Truth EP), Your Nearest Exit still manages to sound seamless and thoroughly effective, and if she isn't going to be competing with Chrissie Hynde or Holly Beth Vincent for your affections, Sally Crewe at least deserves a prominent place in your CD collection.

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