DiFranco moves onwards and upwards with Little Plastic Castle
, though some of the more experimental material doesn't quite take flight. So it's the more usual DiFranco-styled songs on this album that really impress, and there are some darn good ones here.
It amazes me that she can keep coming on up with material like the title track, which seemingly treads the same old ground she's always covered, yet is nevertheless different in subtle and important ways. "Little Plastic Castle"s structure is very Difranco, except there's brass instruments piping up to provide the variation. And "Fuel" is one of her spoken-word things, over a Jazz-esque backing.
I've already mentioned "Gravel" in my Living in Clip
review - it loses none of its charm on this studio version. "As Is" is a sweet, lilting thing musically, with biting lyrics to provide a nice contrast - a typically DiFranco thing to do. I also love "The Little Girls", with it's deft acoustic guitar work, though I don't much care for the Jazz-inspired, pulsating "Deep Dish", which comes across akin to a groove in search of a purpose.
So yeah, there's not too much wrong here, Little Plastic Castle
is kind of a meeting point between past and future Ani Difranco. The songs on the whole aren't the best she's ever done, but some are up there - "Gravel" for one, and the gorgeous "Independence Day" another. Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews