Betty

Snowbiz

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Quirky New York vocal trio Betty are best known for their self-referential off-Broadway show Betty Rules (and, to some, for doing the theme song to the cult-fave pay cable show The L Word), but over the course of several albums, they've revealed themselves to be the snarkily postmodern offspring of the Roches. Sisters Elizabeth Ziff (guitar) and Amy Ziff (cello), along with bassist Alyson Palmer, create a brand of artsy folk-rock similar to the '80s sister act, but their equally angelic three-part harmonies are in service to a considerably more sarcastic and pointed lyrical stance. On this vaguely holiday-themed album, there are songs like "Itchy Fingers" (an a cappella celebration of horniness set to the most lascivious-sounding finger snaps this side of Peggy Lee's "Fever"), "Happy Holidays" (the emotional travails of being alone in December), the surprisingly rocking "Georgia" (Palmer's mixed-feelings song about heading home for the holidays), the self-explanatory "Holiday Office Party" (with a lead vocal that sounds oddly like some of Amy Rigby's talking-blues style tunes), and the particularly Roches-like "Dreidle Jingle Fiasco," a mash-up of various holiday favorites. All of them feature the trio's ravishing harmonies and trademark attitude, but Snowbiz is primarily an album for fans; newcomers might find the holiday-themed tunes a little slight, and Mike Thorne's production and arrangements are uncharacteristically bland.

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