Merril Bainbridge

The Garden

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Sweet but never saccharine, Merrill Bainbridge demonstrated that pop and pop-rock could be sugary and edgy at the same time on her lush American debut The Garden. In 1996, the charming Australian singer/composer had a major hit with the mildly erotic "Mouth" -- which, as appealing as it is, isn't the CD's best song. Even stronger are the hauntingly seductive "Garden In My Room," the innocent "Song For Neen" and the gorgeous "Julie." In contrast to artists who tend to avoid sentimentality and unapologetically pretty melodies for fear of not being taken seriously, Bainbridge thrives on them and savors their delights. But not one of her songs is insipid or corny. Bainbridge is clearly an artist of depth and substance.

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