Now, this is what I call value for money! Seriously, Ms Difranco releases an album a year pretty much anyway, and here we've got - as good as - a triple album (speaking in old vinyl terms) containing two hours of new music.
That's two CDs then, the first of which sees DiFranco moving away from her past more forcefully than any of her other releases had, and a second mostly acoustic-styled CD, one that sounds strangely subdued, as if she's lost all interest in that style of music altogether. It does contain a few highpoints though.
Those highpoints include "Grey", with very sombre, very literate and important-sounding lyrics, and a great song overall. The other big highlight of the second CD is "Your Next Bold Move", which is soft and gentle, yet makes its point all the same.
Sadly, little of the rest of the second CD really moves or excites in the way DiFranco material of the past did. Longterm fans seeking out the old DiFranco sound have gone straight to the second CD, and been deeply disappointed. The comments on amazon.com reflect that - in fact, fans weren't just disappointed, they were scathing.
Many didn't like the first CD either, with its change of sound. What were all those Jazz textures and brass instruments and funk basslines doing on an Ani Difranco album? Well, once past the dirge that is the opening 5-minute groove in search of a will-to-live called "Ain't That the Way", then it's clear blue waters - mostly.
The first CD Revelling
matches much else that DiFranco's done - even with its experimental pieces, it works as a good album. But as far as I'm concerned, it should've been released on its own, as the Reckoning
CD does little to add to anything she's done before. It's disappointing.
So even though Revelling/Reckoning
is disappointing overall, it's paving the way for something else. That was apparent even at the time.Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews