Michelle Shocked

Threesome

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AllMusic Review by

Say what you will about her, but Michelle Shocked is one musician who is obviously in it for art and not commerce, and while most folks would consider it commercial suicide to release three albums of new material on the same day and date, Shocked not only opted to do just that through her own Mighty Sound label, but even upped the ante by also making them available in a special three-disc set, cleverly called Threesome. Threesome leads off with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, an eclectic set which offers some of the strongest and most straightforward rock and R&B material Shocked has offered up since Short Sharp Shocked in 1988, though the album's ambitions exceed its reach and it works in fits and starts rather than as a coherent whole. Simply puzzling is the set's final act, Mexican Standoff, a collision between seemingly satiric neo-Latin music and straightforward blues grooves that confuses far more than it enlightens, and is easily the weakest of the three albums. And the set's pleasant surprise is Got No Strings, a breezy collection of songs from vintage Disney movies done up in a swinging progressive bluegrass style. The music is a pleasure, and Shocked's spry vocals fit the material like a glove; it's the least ambitious album in the Threesome set, but it also hits its marks perfectly, and offers the clearest reminder of just how good Shocked can sound when she strips herself down to the basics (not inappropriate on a set called Threesome). In short, this is a price-conscious way for loyal fans to get all three albums, but the truth is the individual parts are certainly not of equal value, and you might be better off picking up Got No Strings and perhaps Don't Ask, Don't Tell and leaving it at that.

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