Sounding a bit like Sarah McClachlan and Sheryl Crow, with just enough Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield ("Lucky You") to make things interesting, Beth Thornley alternately coos, whispers, and belts out oblique lyrics over a poppy, '60s-influenced Wall of Sound on her self-titled debut. The music on tracks like the dynamic and retro-futuristic opener "I Will Lie" could be Air doing indie rock -- analog synthesizer gurgles and whistles abound -- but for the most part, Thornley tackles straightforward singer/songwriter rock with a slight, contemporary psyche-rock sheen. Thornley's songwriting doesn't yet have the absolute pop brilliance of someone like Aimee Mann (the shuffling, piano-driven "Arrogance" sounds particularly Mann-inspired, and "Don't Save Me" could have been written after a Paul Thomas Anderson movie binge), but her tunes are propulsive and catchy, and don't shy away from layers of fuzzy guitars and odd instrumentation. This record is likely to go largely unnoticed -- there simply aren't any hooks as indelible as found on a Sheryl Crow single -- but it's an accomplished and eclectic release that proves Beth Thornley to be worthy of serious attention.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Spano