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Tara Jane O'Neil 

You Sound, Reflect

Wednesday, Sep 8 2004
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If this had come out in 1974 instead of '04, Tara Jane O'Neil (ex-Rodan, -Retsin) would no doubt be compared most favorably to U.K. trad-folk icons Shirley & Dolly Collins and Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny. She shares with them an unadorned vocal delivery, moody modal melodies, and a sense of poised melancholy -- the sound of youthful innocence yielding to sad wisdom. Her songs may not hook you straightaway -- her voice conveys the gray rainy-day refrains, while the production is atmospheric and layered, the instruments (nearly all by O'Neil) providing subtle but poignant embellishments -- but on repeated listens, O'Neil's compositions evince their muted power: The electric guitar on "Known Perils" has a hard metallic sound adding eerie savor to this little-girl-lost lament; the loping "Famous Yellow Belly" has the yearning, morning-after feel of a Velvet Underground ballad joined with the folky side of Everything But the Girl. You Sound, Reflect is definitely not a disc to spin while seriously depressed; it is, however, a very fine commiserating companion for overcast days.

About The Author

Mark Keresman

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