Pal Shazar


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Singer/songwriter Pal Shazar (formerly of Slow Children) has a mannered, declamatory singing style that tends to limit the melodic interest of her songs; combine that with relentlessly solipsistic lyrics (of the ten songs on the program, seven begin with the word "I") and what you'll usually end up with is 45 minutes of navel-gazing that no one outside of the artist' s immediate family will be interested in listening to. What saves Safe is the music, which is fiendishly muscular and engaging. A tight, funky mid-tempo groove saves "Oh No" from itself (opening line: "I can understand the concept of being happy"), while the crunchy guitars and dry, minimalist drums on "Mean of Spirit" fit perfectly the lyrics' bitter kiss-off. Elsewhere, Shazar confesses her desire to "make it with Martians" and, on the surprisingly hooky and nicely nasty "Forgiveness,," tells her ex that she wants her "blood on his hands" and invites him to accept her forgiveness. A few more real melodies would have been nice, but this album ultimately succeeds on its own terms.

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