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Cutthroat Standards & Black Pop

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Album Review

Combining sonic and sartorial elements from Kate Bush, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Phantom of the Opera, the second record from Abby Travis is a very strange yet intriguing mishmash of pop and Victorian goth maneuvers. Cutthroat Standards & Black Pop is a fitting title for this alternately pretentious and sincere collection, which stylistically can only be called kitsch'n sink. Travis bounds from such show-tune numbers as "So Far Away" to a bit of Brecht/Weill-meets-Franziskaner madness on "Have I Got a Deal for You" to a loungy bossa nova groove on "Sunday Is the Day for Love." Like Elton John on his mid-'70s epics, Travis uses the CD canvas to prove her facility in multiple genres; a chanteuse for all seasons. Fortunately, she has the songwriting chops and malleable voice to do it; unfortunately, she goes to extremes in her steering, weighing down her songs with arrangements and deliveries excessively Elizabethan and thickly maudlin. The tiresome goth show-tune dramatics of "October" ("embrace the naked moon of Halloween") show Travis' bad side — allowing her interest in cultivating an image to prevail over making sure the songs hold up as songs, first and foremost. For every cute bon mot (her reasoning on "Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun" is, simply enough, "'cuz competition isn't fun"), there's a lapse into juvenile poetry, rendering Cutthroat Standards & Black Pop a flawed if unique listen.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Hollywood, CA, native Abby Travis began her musical career with the all-girl band the Lovedolls, who recorded a single album, 1991's Love One Another. She parlayed that gig into session and touring work as a bassist and singer with an astonishingly eclectic array of artists, ranging from the Meat Puppets to El Vez to erstwhile Monkee Peter Tork. After playing with Beck and Elastica at the 1995 Lollapalooza festival, she embarked on a solo career that would prove to be just as diverse as the artists...
Full bio
Cutthroat Standards & Black Pop, Abby Travis
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 24 October 2000

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