Linda Draper

One Two Three Four

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On her fourth release since 2001 -- thus the title -- One Two Three Four -- Linda Draper takes a less is more formula on these dozen tunes and lets her pretty voice and minimal folk strums tell each tale. Though probably not influenced by early Marianne Faithfull and Nico, she has that little girl voice which speaks with authority over dangling arrangements that are pleasant and insightful. The wordy essays are printed in the six-page booklet that accompanies the music, a photo inside recalling Jennifer Warnes circa her days with John Cale as producer. And Cale himself could have put this solid outing together, the six-minute-and-eighteen-second "Lifeboat" would do the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver proud, and would also be a nice track for a Gavin Sutherland solo disc. The piano taking a dominant place over the guitar among the eerie sounds makes for a dynamic and plodding mini-masterpiece -- someone mail this to John Cale for his observations. Most of the material hovers around the three-minute mark, "Jezebel" displaying a 1920s vocal style that sounds like Norman "Hurricane" Smith took over the console and found a vintage microphone just for fun. The perpetual semi-jangle guitar strums border on monotony, but like the Ramones and Chuck Berry, Draper knows how to take a great riff and milk it for all its worth. The approach to each melody and vocal is what holds the attention of the waterfall folk strums, especially on the title track. Draper goes from lecturing to analysis, whatever hits her fancy, but she does it in an engaging way and after a few spins she's won you over. There's some captivating magic here very, very worth exploring.

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