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Kinnie Starr 

Sun Again

Wednesday, Jan 12 2005
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Viewers of the first season of The L Word got a sneak preview of the third album by trip-hop diva Kinnie Starr, as six songs from Sun Again -- released in Starr's native Canada in '03, out in the United States this week -- were featured on the series' soundtrack. While not as trippy as Tricky or as groovin' as Morcheeba, Starr adroitly fashions her own variant on the style, owing as much to altrock (à la PJ Harvey and Aimee Mann) and synth-pop as to hip hop. Her gauzy, slyly infectious melodies glide over crisp, muted beats, while her cool, languorous voice switches gears from street-corner surly ("Soar," "Super Clever," the latter recalling old-school hip hop) to rapt yet reserved passion ("Alright," "Warm"). On "Bore Me," Starr is a world-weary chanteuse cooing about shattered promises, but then "Dreaming" arrives and we find her pulling a bluesy drawl and Sade-sleek bossa-pop in the same song. (Stay tuned after the title track for two "mystery" songs, one a Sabbath/Metallica grinder with a psychedelic-styled vocal, the other an interminable bit of techno twaddle.) Sun Again juggles the contemplative and the seductive, the urban and the urbane.

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Mark Keresman

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