Syd Straw

War and Peace

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Emerging out of the Golden Palominos, Syd Straw made 1989's Surprise, one of those big-budget, name-producer, multiple-recording-studio star-making extravaganzas, and good as it was, it didn't get noticed. It took her seven years to mount a second try, and to do so she just tooled down to Springfield, Missouri, and cut a quick record with the semi-legendary Skeletons backing her up. The result is a jangly-guitar, singer/songwriter folk-rock feast and a glimpse into an apparently tortured soul. Straw sings of liquor and love gone wrong; there is a vague story line here, what with the references to Spain and recurrent self-debasement. But there is also a deadpan humor, plenty of tuneful music, and an intriguing, if wounded, persona who comes under unyielding self-examination.

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