Flora Reed
Settle Down Soft Alarm http://www.tinymixtapes.comsites/default/files/arton5187_0.jpg

[Soft Alarm; 2002]

Rating: 1.5/5 1.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: indie rock, contemporary
Others: Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Beth Orton, Merzbow


http://media.tinymixtapes.com/

Flora Reed’s Settle Down is an album to drift by to on hot and dusty spring evenings. American Reed manages to pinpoint the grace that made Aimee Mann a major player in the independent music scene. Dave Chalfant provides the subtle production that this album needs and Reed’s raw talents shine. Her trademark smoky voice fuses with gentle acoustic guitar suitably to give
the album a warm feel.

The highlight of the album is the title track; the melody weaves steadily while Reed keeps a strong clutch on song structure, otherwise lacking. The album concludes with a cappella version of Bjork’s “Joga." I don’t know how many times I’ve told artists this (via e-mail, fax, whatever), but it’s dangerous to include cover songs on your albums. You end up with two possibilities: (1) You can ruin the song entirely, and not only discredit yourself, but also the artist you are presumably “honoring.” And (2) it can be performed so well that it makes the accompanying songs look about as presentable as George Bush’s lego-man haircut. Of course, you might be able to pull it off, but the chances are so slim it’s laughable. Bjork’s “Joga” is enchanting, haunting, enticing and above all, distinctive; predictably, Reed’s version pales by comparison. Her original material should provide the depth and clarity she needs to pull off a successful and solid piece.

All in all, there’s a myriad of comparisons that can be drawn to Settle Down due to the universal nature of the album. Unfortunately, in terms of comparisons, Reed shares some of the less pleasant aspects of Aimee Mann’s music. Unremarkable springs to mind. Although pretty, the songs are formless and lackluster. Much to my personal disdain, the Leonard Cohen in her music appears in dirge form. Flora heads towards Mann territory, but could provide more lyrical attention to attain the same level of fluency and poetics. As far as female songstresses go, she’s certainly no Fiona Apple or Bjork, she’s no Aimee Mann or Beth Orton, but she’s got a station wagon, supplies, some Nick Drake CDs and cheese snacks. It sure as hell looks like she might be heading by that way.

1. Flowers at My Feet
2. Wake Up Laughing
3. Settle Down
4. Happiness Is
5. Beloved
6. Mutter
7. Just Ask
8. Sweetly Said
9. Calm What Was
10. What Brougt You Down
11. Joga

1. Flowers at My Feet
2. Wake Up Laughing
3. Settle Down
4. Happiness Is
5. Beloved
6. Mutter
7. Just Ask
8. Sweetly Said
9. Calm What Was
10. What Brougt You Down
11. Joga