Maria Taylor

Lynn Teeter Flower

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The words "Lynn Teeter Flower" won't mean much to anyone who wasn't a part of Maria Taylor's formative years in Birmingham, AL, but they have a way of imparting a sense of what the artist's sophomore disc sounds like -- pretty, charmingly off-kilter, this side of eccentric. Unlike 11:11, Taylor's great debut disc, Lynn Teeter Flower, named for a onetime family friend, follows its own carefully considered path. Where the first album leaned hard on the jittery Bright Eyes sound, the second charts a course through sparer but still pillowy sounding territory. In ten songs (the eleventh is more a late-coming interlude than a song -- it unspools a child's sing-songy tribute to "Lynn Flower"), Taylor lays out tales of sadness, self-doubt and elusive love that seem hand-dunked in humanity -- see "My Own Fault" and "Smile and Wave" for the best examples. Throughout, a cutback on shimmery electronic effects results in a lived-in sound; there's a shabby chic-ness to these songs, and also a believability. Taylor's voice is part Elizabeth Mitchell and part Sarah McLachlan, minus the syrup. Like the name "Lynn Teeter Flower," it issues from somewhere plain and true and captivates fully.

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