Canadian singer/songwriter Melanie Doane poses in a white T-shirt and black leather pants, with an electric guitar slung over her shoulder, on the front and back covers of her debut CD, Adam's Rib, but she doesn't actually play that instrument on the album, sticking instead to her primary axe, the violin, along with occasional piano and mandolin. Nevertheless, the rock star posture she adopts better prepares the listener for the music inside than a photograph of her with her violin would. The music is midtempo, guitar-driven folk-rock, with the violin usually blended into the mix as if it were a rhythm guitar. The music supports literate lyrics in which Doane examines the state of modern womanhood, from the title track, which follows Eve's development over the album's hardest rocking production, to "Happy Homemaker," which describes the continuing tug of the career of housewife ("Never what we want / It's what we should") and the piano ballad "Good Gifts," a tribute to the singer's mother. Doane finds new and true things to say about relationships in "Absolutely Happy," about a woman's desire-and inability-to make her mate exactly that, and "How You Cried," a plea for emotional descriptiveness. She may be less ethereal (and consequently more direct) than her countrywoman Sarah McLachlan and less of a rocker (and thus more pop oriented) than Sheryl Crow, but she may rank with them eventually, and their fans certainly will find things to like on this album, which won her the 1998 Juno Award for Best New Artist.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann