Diana Marcovitz

Horse of a Different Feather

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Diana Marcovitz was a sublime, left-field oddity -- a sort of Bette Midler on speed (or valium, depending which tracks you judged her by) -- who wrote her own songs, sang them in a shamelessly raucous stage-school vibrato, and then disappeared. Horse of a Different Feather is a "love it or hate it" affair; listeners are unlikely to be indifferent. Like Midler, Marcovitz was clearly enchanted by nostalgia: "Three-Toed sloth" and "Hold Me" have a perky, swinging big-band flavor, although "Sloth"'s dry lyrics and Marcovitz's crazed vocal stylings are clearly more modern affectations. "The Groupie's Lament" is another winning cut, and finds Marcovitz ably adopting the persona of a star-struck brat, spitting with indignation after being knocked back by the rock-star object of her affection. She fails, though, when interpreting Randy Newman's "Love Story" -- Marcovitz's humor, even at its most catty, has a likeable, forgiving quality to it; by contrast, Newman's is simply out-and-out mean and misanthropic.