Though Reprieve loses some of its steam and intensity after the spoken word blows-against-the-patriarchy title track (#9, #9, #9 of 12), it is still a strong effort from an artist whom we've come to expect nothing less.
Initially recorded in New Orleans with long standing bassist Todd Sickafoose while Katrina zeroed in, DiFranco evacuated to her native Buffalo. There she overdubbed her muse, using whatever she hadn't taken south, namely a cheesy synth and omnichord. The results are anything but cheese spread.
Brimming with politics, pathos and poetry, most of 'Reprieve' is Ani on a tear. Hypnotized is a jazzy encounter ("I wasn't no picnic / I wasn't no prize / But I had enough sweetness / To keep you hypnotized"). Subconscious an angsty kiss-off. Decree and Millennium Theater are two of those knotty, jangled, DiFranco classics, each track gaining momentum as she gets more righteous., slicing to the core of our corrupt system and our silent, minimum wage complacency that keeps it in place. 78% H20 and the hushed, ruminative Half-assed are must replays also.
As her second powerhouse offering of 2006 (if you haven't heard the live Carnegie 4/2/02 you're not doing yourself any favors) Ani's not about to let up. Here's hoping her audience can be just as strong and determined.
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