Crystal Brandt
"Voter"

(Mungler Winslowe Records 2004)Crystal Brandt - Voter

Where her last album, "Bessie's Last Stand," was vibrant and bluesy, Crystal Brandt's new album, "Voter," is folksy and understated, preferring to say more with less. Maintaining her focus and her Fiona Apple-like vocal chords, Brandt offers eleven tunes full of spirit, attitude and emotion.

Brandt seems to pick up where "Bessie" left off, opting for the mid tempo guitar and vocals of "Explanation" instead of a blatantly catchy opener. Gentler but still similar, "Bruising the Flowers" uses melodic guitar to set the scene before the unusually poppy and airy piano ballad of "Bear Mountain." The calmness is only temporary, however, as Brandt expresses anger with her voice, adding just enough accentuations and vocalizing, on "Two Door Coupe." Slow and intense while remaining minimal, "Send It Out" is darker, Brandt's voice alive and dynamic.

"Long Tall," with its engaging piano, is more upbeat sounding while remaining clear and smooth. More instrumentally involved than previous songs, "Only For Show" is engaging and memorable. "God damn all the people I'll never be/And god damn all the places I'll never see/Because what I am/Is just a finger pointing back at me," Brandt spits on the guitar led "Could've Been, Could Be." Combining piano and guitar, "Screws I Lose" is quietly intense while the brighter melodic guitar of "Never Got It Right" is sadly upbeat. Brandt closes the album with the folksy and endearing "Canada, Kennedy."

A talented songwriter with an unquestionably strong voice, Crystal Brandt easily leaves her mark upon listeners. While not as dynamic as "Bessie's Last Stand," "Voter" is quieter and perhaps a bit too passive in getting your ear and your attention. Instead, "Voter" is straight forward and honest, satisfied to be what it is.

B+

buy it!