August 21, 2008

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Juliana Hatfield, How to Walk Away
Ye Olde Records, Aug. 19

One of the great wonders of Boston, Hatfield has been somewhat of a psyche-out circus act within the alt-rock scene since the 80s, before she served part-time as the Official Hot Chick of the Lemonheads and eventually became a notable guitarist by the time she recorded Only Everything. Tales of her bouts with depression and “total apathy” toward sex (did I ever tell you I’m allergic to water, by the way?) kept the dweebs at Spin busy at their Commodore 64s, and, long story short, she owned the world for a time.

Anyhow — average, thy name is How to Walk Away. No screamy stuff or daredevil Tori Amos stunts, simply pure non-toxic radio-rock with lyrics one would guess were written by Ally Sheedy’s kooky girl of Breakfast Club. The first three songs — the strummy “The Fact Remains,” the airy “Shining On” and the single-worthy “This Lonely Love” with former Psychedelic Fur Richard Butler — will run you $2.97 by my math; you’d be overspending if you wanted to own the rest, mostly Sheryl Crow filler with nary a pulse save for the post-riot-grrl-ish “So Alone.” The notes are precisely mapped out and strung together eloquently, all done more for making territory’s sake, it would seem, than listenability. C+Eric W. Saeger