Teeming with roots and with alternative country oozing from every note, Kathleen Edwards could easily be compared to fellow Canadian Sarah Harmer, but there is a natural difference in their approaches. With songs such as "One More Song the Radio Won't Like," the singer tends to stand outside the conventional box, but her voice easily recalls Lucinda Williams at her most vulnerable. "I'm so tired of playing defense/And I don't even have hockey skates," she sings during "Hockey Skates," which straddles the country/pop line to perfection. "The Lone Wolf" is another strong nugget, demonstrating an earthy, Neil Young quality. There is also an adventurous side to the album, with saxophones and an edgier, tougher sound on "12 Bellvue." Possessing a lyrical cynicism far beyond her tender 23 years, Edwards seems best at her most melancholic, particularly during "National Steel" and relating the problems of addiction in "Mercury." But the prettiest number is the closing "Sweet Lil' Duck," whose overtones evoke "Here Comes a Regular" from the Replacements. Far from a failure, Failer is as gorgeous as it is flawless.
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil