Lemon Love

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The back of Aslyn's Lemon Love depicts her gazing at her own record on 12" vinyl, complete with Capitol's famous rainbow label. It's a fun little fantasy, fitting with the stars, cloud doodles, and vintage headphones that fill out Lemon Love's charming artwork, because the twentysomething singer/songwriter's debut floats somewhere in the blue sky between 1970s MOR pop and the slick adult alternative sounds of 2005. "Ain't No Love" crosses the harmonies of Queen's "Killer Queen" with a soulful Maroon 5 bounce and empowered lines like "I wanna know that I can't be traded...Know who I am is not about make-up." Lead single "Be the Girl" doesn't go for the immediate listener connection, like something from Ashlee might. Instead it grows on you, building to a driving chorus of brash guitars and Aslyn's own Rhodes keying. The production does get a little slick though, as it does throughout Lemon Love. And that's a bit disappointing, because there are moments when she strains on a high note or fits a bunch of quirky words into one lyric -- Waffle Houses, Mercury Sables, popcorn butter, and Avon cologne -- that you can see Aslyn singing her heart out in a club or coffeehouse somewhere, and it's an image closer to the classic pop songwriter of the album art's vinyl fantasy than the too-often marketed and packaged stuff of niche-market contemporary life. Coming back to earth, however, Lemon Love offers plenty of bright choruses and chances for Aslyn to use her friendly singing style to pull you in. She's like the friend of the lead in every romantic comedy, the girl with all the snappy answers who sings in the shower like the star she should be. The title track is a softer-side highlight, "Here's to Believe" finds R&B inside pop, and "Golden" again highlights Aslyn's impressive keyboard work. In short, she's made a debut that's easy to enjoy, and comfortable like the dog-eared edges of a trusty LP.

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