September 7, 2006

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Sandi Thom, Smile… It Confuses People
Sony Records, 2006

Chick-flick folkie Sandi Thom caught Sony’s wallet’s ear by MySpacing her way into a webcast virtual “tour” (filmed in her basement) that ended up luring in 100,000 people with DSL and probably little else in their lives, not to infer that her voice isn’t worth a big-league deal. If there’s anything askew about her it’s the geeky titles, like “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In Her Hair);” once past that grammatical Poseidon Adventure you’ve got to imagine someone who doesn’t know Joni Mitchell from Lydia Lunch, but she’s 24, meaning maybe she’s simply another casualty of Avril Lavigne’s recently abandoned kampf to turn antisocial music into a referendum on pouting for effect. The album opens with the “Magic Bus”-syncopated finger-snapper “When Horsepower Meant What It Said,” an obvious nod of approval for Paula Cole’s trip that fits rightly enough owing to Thom’s vocal chords, which were cast from Cole’s die with traces of Mariah Carey and Minnie Ripperton thrown in. It’s all pretty and non-toxic, and if the CD disappears mysteriously you’ll automatically look in mom’s car first. C+

— Eric W. Saeger