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Flavors Of Entanglement

Canadian firebrand loses her spark

Rating: 6 / 10

Peter Murphy, 16 Jun 2008

Still considered a big deal by the label (so much so that the pre-release copy boasts a pseudonym and decoy title), Alanis nevertheless seems destined to be forever measured by the piss and vinegar of her debut. Flavors Of Entanglement won’t change anyone’s mind. The opening raga-rock extravaganza ‘Citizens Of The Planet’ finds her pursuing the same systems of melody through the same mangled phrasing. She’s still capable of writing a cracker of a pop tune (‘Underneath’), and time has not blunted her nu-feminist ire, evident in the expletive-splattered lyrics of songs like ‘Straightjacket’, but precious little of that anger is manifest in the music.

Curiously, Alanis seems ossified in 1995. Tracks like ‘Moratorium’ and ‘Giggling Again For No Reason’ utilise the cyborg meld of rock and electronica pioneered by Garbage and perfected by Madonna circa Ray Of Light, while ‘Versions Of Violence’ mixes liturgical airs and church bells with Bjork ‘Army Of Me’ big beats. This hodge-podge of designer production tricks, courtesy of Guy Sigsworth, and FM rock-lite, sometimes leaves the listener wondering if half the record wasn’t submitted for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet over a decade ago. Piano ballads like ‘Not As We’ and ‘Torch’ are, by virtue of their simplicity, the most affecting things here.

Still, we are forever in her debt for ‘My Humps’.

Key track: ‘Torch’

Rating: 6 / 10
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