Andrea Maxand

Angel Hat

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This Seattle singer/songwriter's debut album is a sparse yet acerbic walk through minimal pop and rock. Starting off with "Survival of the Sentiment," Maxand has all the abilities of a pragmatic Natalie Merchant, as well as Tanya Donelly, as she strums her guitar. Unlike other singers, she allows her voice to carry the melody more often than her instruments, whether it's piano or electric guitar. When percussion is added to the album, it has an early Velvet Underground feeling to it, such as on the sultry "Distractions." The only awkward-sounding track is the off-tempo "Spun," recalling a possible early outtake from the Cranberries. Maxand has the abilities to take her voice to another level during rock songs like "When God Shuts the Door," almost speaking the words. "Whine and Shine" is perhaps the best song here, with a great amount of witty lyrics supported by her alternating between A and B chords. On her softer side, Maxand can also dole out memorable alternative rock lullabies in the vein of the Sundays on "Peace on TV." The most accessible pop/rock song is "Learn How to Crawl," a great track in the style of Wild Strawberries.

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