Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tin Cup Prophette - Liar and the Thief


Tin Cup Prophette
Liar and the Thief
Grade: B

Tin Cup Prophette scored some serious points with me when she was featured doing a cover of "Tongue" on R.E.M.'s holiday single this year. So, when her latest, Liar and the Thief, finally got some distribution in Minnesota, I snatched that shit up.

I think Amanda Kapousouz, the Tin Cup Prophette herself, shows a whole lot of potential. Kapousouz also arranges her songs beautifully. I never thought I'd actually hear trip-hop and violin work together in a way that isn't all gothy and miserable, but she works that arrangement really well. Liar and the Thief sounds very full for how few instruments she works with.

And I can pay to Kapousouz a compliment I pay all too rarely: I love her voice. It isn't just there, it's not just a vehicle for lyrics and passion (or whiney break-up lyrics, whatever), her voice is very sultry and full. Kapousouz makes her presence as a vocalist felt when she sings, and I love that.

In general, the CD is pretty dark and a little sleepy. The exception is "Going Numb," a glockenspiel and violin piece. It's not a terribly happy song, but it's just the ray of sonic sunshine the album needs to break up all the dreariness of the rest of the album. "Going Numb" is by far the best track on the album by virtue of being unique but still accessible and poppy.

Unfortunately, Kapousouz falls into the same trap as other artists who exert near-total control over their songs: Many of the songs on Liar and the Thief sound nearly the same. I think the main culprit is that she doesn't have a real drummer, and so the rhythm of each song is pretty uniform from the opening to the closing bars. Even from song to song, the feel and tempo stay pretty much constant. The result is that most of the album just kind of melts together. And that really is unfortunate because the instrumentation on this album is arranged beautifully, but the monotony gets in the way of really enjoying it.

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(April Wright)

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