Carina Round

Slow Motion Addict

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On Slow Motion Addict, Carina Round switches from the witchy, slinky rawness of The Disconnection to impatient rock with a slick veneer. Throughout the album, she walks a fine line between arty instincts and commercially viable pop (produced by alt-pop mastermind Glen Ballard, no less), and while the results aren't as striking as her debut, they're almost as revealing. "Take the Money" is a jaded, witty ode to selling out, in which she describes hearing her music everywhere in promiscuous terms: "You know you got me in the elevator/You know you got me on the radio...I'm gonna give it to you 'til you choke." Her words are ironic, but her delivery is so passionate that it's sometimes hard to tell when she's kidding -- which, of course, only makes things more interesting. On "How Many Times," Round sounds like she's getting ready to wallow in angst, then sneering backing vocals usher in the wry, world-weary chorus; it's like Dorothy Parker asking "what fresh hell is this?" backed by Elastica. Several of Slow Motion Addict's other rock-based tracks display this kind of wit and insight. "Gravity Lies"' rippling drum machines and biting guitars make Round into a one-woman Kills, while a spoken word interlude and video game-like sound effects keep it from feeling too by-the-numbers; "Want More" is an elegant push-pull of a song with lavish harmonies. The second half of Slow Motion Addict slows down and focuses on Round's softer side, and while "Down Slow" and "Come to You" are undeniably pretty, they're not as gripping as the album's louder tracks. Fortunately, "Slow Motion Addict" itself and the sweeping finale, "The City," manage to dial down the volume while keeping the intensity of the album's first half. Slow Motion Addict isn't quite as fully realized as The Disconnection, but Round and this album are too intriguing and intense to be dismissed easily.

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