Wonderland Park

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Following two albums and one EP, Ednaswap's "Torn" finally became a hit -- for Australian vocalist Natalie Imbruglia, not for the band itself. Consequently, their third album Wonderland Park was in the weird position of being perceived as a follow-up, even if it was simply another shot at success -- either mainstream or cult -- for the group. Wonderland Park, like its predecessors, isn't the kind of record that would satiate fans of Imbruglia's ^"Torn," but it offers similar, albeit more sophisticated, pleasures. For one, Anne Preven's voice is edgier than Natalie's, and Ednaswap layers guitars and keyboards into a catchy yet forceful sound that isn't necessarily harsh, but certainly hits harder than Imbruglia's polished adult alterna-pop. Then again, Ednaswap isn't a hard-rocking outfit, either, but what makes them distinctive is the combination of Preven's nakedly emotional lyrics and the band's surging performances. It's a combination that doesn't always work -- a few of the songs on Wonderland Park fall flat, either because the music doesn't hold or Preven tries too hard with her lyrics -- but when it does, the music is among the best alterna-pop of 1998.

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