Category Archives: Review

A Fine Frenzy’s “Bomb in a Birdcage” Review

Arriving two years after A Fine Frenzy’s Virgin Records debut One Cell in the Sea, Bomb in a Birdcage finds sole band member Alison Sudol subtly tweaking the formula from 2007’s lush, lilting Cell. Surprising, she’s at her strongest here when her youthful whimsy retreats, supplanted by a lovely, understated sweetness. It’s hard not to smile during the effortless, handclap-aided acoustic album opener “What I Wouldn’t Do,” or find yourself swept up in the stirring, multi-tracked turbulence of “Elements.”

Elsewhere, melancholic ballads “Happier” and “Swan Song” establish that few wield a wistful verse quite like Sudol can, while “Bird of the Summer” and “The Beacon” perfectly illustrate her accomplished storytelling. Though songs like “New Heights” and “The World Without” don’t offer much in terms of progression, Bomb is a refreshingly relaxed and surprisingly assured sophomore effort.

A Fine Frenzy’s “One Cell in the Sea” Review

The debut album from one-woman act A Fine Frenzy, One Cell in the Sea proves Alison Sudol’s precious pop is at its best when she’s immersed in nature-inspired metaphors, perhaps because the photographic presentation gives the impression that she travels the country with a piano strapped on her back, trekking through fields and forests in flowing lace dresses, waiting for a stream or leaf or cloud to inspire her.

With One Cell in the Sea, she provides any fan of the great outdoors an anthem in “Come On, Come Out” and compares herself to a rabbit fearing the hunt on album stand-out “Rangers.” Sometimes the sentimentality overwhelms Sudol’s dainty designs, such as when she cloyingly correlates herself with an apple on “You Picked Me,” but much of Cell‘s bittersweet balladry is just too damn pretty to resist. Maybe all meadows should have flame-haired songstresses twirling about.