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Edith Frost - It's A Game

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Artist: Edith Frost

Album: It's A Game

Label: Drag City

Review date: Nov. 20, 2005

ďItís A GameĒ follows the longest break of Edith Frostís career, and the time off seems to have done the trick; itís the best thing sheís recorded since her first album, 1997ís Calling Over Time.

Like that album, this one is a post-heartbreak autopsy, but itís no retread. The accompaniment is not so pared-to-the-bone; the edges are a bit softer thanks to the upholstering furnished by keyboardists Azita Youssefi, Lindsay Anderson and Mark Greenberg. The backing, which shifts from country to torch-song jazz to yearning pop, is Frostís most eclectic to date, and itís executed throughout with an understatement that keeps the vocals front and center. Such restraint is key to Itís A Gameís success; the singing is similarly underplayed, which counterbalances the naked pain in some of her lyrics.

Frost and producer Rian Murphy have ordered the songs into a narrative that starts with a suspicion that something is wrong and takes the listener through a crumbling affairís episodes of rejection, isolation, and resignation. Sheís never written so directly before; the anxiety and frustration is more palpable, the hurt deeper than anything sheís previously recorded. But Frost never oversells her heartbreak, and the albumís hopeful resolution feels as genuine as the smile she throws over her shoulder on the back sleeve.

By Bill Meyer

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