Perfect City

Florence Dore

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Perfect City Review

by Travis Drageset

Like that of Liz Phair or Laura Cantrell, Florence Dore's music is literate and personal and uses its chosen genre -- folk/pop/rock with a twang -- as a vehicle for an immersion in intellect and emotion. Perfect City was produced by guitarist Eric Ambel (Steve Earle, Blood Oranges, Bottle Rockets), and features references to William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury ("Perfect City") and Kent, OH ("Wintertown"), where, at the time of its recording, she was a professor of American literature at Kent State. Her stylistically informed background -- punk, folk, country -- allows for a diversity of styles within the album, which achieves cohesion within its own feverish and soothing permutations. The album speaks of dignified love and embraces the fact that it rarely ever is ("Postcard"), of the leaps that can be acheived by doing nothing ("Early World"), and of the beauties in life that can only be seen in reference to one's own immortality ("Say the Thing"), where she plaintively asks the song's recipient to "Say the thing that keeps the plaster from peeling/Say the thing that keeps the stairway from reeling." "Christmas," which first received notoriety in a version by the Posies, is a dirge about spending the holiday alone, dealing with a breakup, and questioning everything, wherein she sings, "I'm holding onto you and I don't know why/I don't have faith in what's supposed to be," and pours into the chorus, "You made me cry for the last time/That's okay Christmas means little to me." The album's other slow, bittersweet ballad, "No Nashville," which reflects on the ambiguities felt when returning to one's hometown, is simply a classic in waiting.

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