One Cell In the Sea

One Cell In the Sea

A fairy tale ambiance hangs over One Cell In the Sea, the beguiling debut release by A Fine Frenzy. Singer/songwriter Alison Sudol — the sole member of AFF - has a breathy, waif-like vocal presence, bringing to mind Taken By Trees' Victoria Bergsman, Over the Rhine's Karen Bergquist and similar folk-pop chanteuses. Her delicately embroidered material blends a Victorian-era delicacy with a precocious feel for pop hooks. It's an appealing combination for anyone who likes languid yet bright melodies combined with dreamily evocative wordplay. "The Minnow & the Trout," "Ashes and Wine" and "Whisper" draw the listener into private landscapes lit by inner emotional fires. Reveries like "Borrowed Time" and "Last of Days" shimmer in misty clouds of sadness. Though she favors oblique musings, Sudol can also make her meanings plain, as the aching "Almost Lover" shows. The upbeat numbers are especially pleasing, particularly the sparkling "You Picked Me" and "Think of You." David Campbell's strings add rich tones to Sudol's fluid piano lines.

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