Smart Brown Handbag

Smart Brown Handbag

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Smart Brown Handbag's recording career was off to a pleasing start with this self-titled CD, which showed the L.A. band to be a promising and highly melodic alternative pop/rock unit with a knack for thoughtful, sensitive lyrics. Handbag tends to favor subtlety and understatement rather than immediacy; this is true of David Steinhart's singing and jangly guitars as well as sibling Jeff Steinhart's electric bass and Lynn Norton's organ and keyboards. And because the trio's introspective songs are as subtle and restrained as they are, they don't necessarily grab you right away or provide instant gratification. But after several listens, one realizes just how meaty songs like "Big Eyes," "Impossible," and "The Pearl" really are. Handbag's lyrics can be maudlin at times, but they can also be poignant and touching. "Fight It Off" examines a man's struggle with depression, while "Something Missing" describes a couple whose relationship is falling apart just before their son's second birthday. The couple is at odds, and it is the child who will inevitably suffer the most. This album wasn't a big seller, but many of those who heard it agreed that Handbag had a lot of potential.

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