Privacy Without Mercy

[Marriage; 2007]

Others: Edith Frost, Neko Case, Cat Power

Getting an award for one of the more apt pseudonyms adopted by any indie folk artist, Laurel Knapp's music being under the moniker Privacy says it all. The album's greatest virtue is the aural quality of being allowed into her bedroom for her to sing a few song sketches that she's been working on. This virtue is also a detriment, in that the short album truly comes off as a group of sketches rather than anything ready for presentation. To some listeners, this may be just the ticket to feeling included on a nascent singer/songwriter's early stage, but to my ears, the promise of better-things-to-come is really just a document of not-quite-there-yet.

This is a completely stripped-down affair, with Knapp's voice and acoustic guitar as the only sounds (save for a potentially unintentional train whistle in the background, authenticating the lo-fi aesthetic for those who might look for such verification). While I've heard much better playing of the acoustic, Knapp's voice is the album's saving grace. Perfectly smoky and a bit sultry, it is undeniably appealing. However, the lyrics, some lifted from noteworthy poets, seem a tad too mundane, as do the melodies. Should Knapp decide to push her singing further in the future and develop her songwriting (possibly hooking up with some skilled accompanists), Privacy may find its way to a larger, more interested public.

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