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Music Review – A Fine Frenzy, One Cell in the Sea

Submitted by on 18 Apr 2010 – 7:20 AM Comments

A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy is 22-year-old Alison Sudol, a gently melancholy songstress who offers whispered pleas for mercy on her debut album, One Cell in the Sea. The album is comprised of 14 tracks ranging from alternative pop to indie soul. Accompanied by her piano, Sudol gives the listener a faint-of-heart account of her trials thus far in life.

The opening track, “Come On, Come Out” creates dreamscapes with its electronic pulses and unwavering keys: “Watching the sky, you’re watching a painting / coming to life, shifting and shaping / staying inside, it all goes all goes by.” This is followed by the topsy-turvy piano and biting strings of “The Minnow & the Trout”, which plays like some nihilist musical: “Please, I know that we’re different / but we were one cell in the sea in the beginning / and what we’re made of was all the same once / we’re not that different after all.” “You Picked Me” is a fully developed pop-infused orchestra with apt chord progressions and a fluttering melody seemingly taken from a nursery rhyme: “Like an apple on a tree / hiding out behind the leaves / I was difficult to reach / but you picked me.”

“Rangers” has more of a Macomb sensibility: “And the rangers stream / out of their cabins / they are the hunters, / we are the rabbits / but maybe we don’t want to be found.”

“Almost Lover,” the album’s hit single, is a perfectly paced eerie and bluesy ballad: “Well, I’d never want to see you unhappy / I thought you’d want the same for me.”

The album is brought to life with “Near to You,” another swaying piano ballad with unabashedly blatant lyrics: “Though he’s gone / and you are wonderful / it’s hard to move on / yet, I’m better near to you.”

Sudol is a self-taught piano player with a sympathetic and lyrical yet precise and clean style. In the nuances of her key playing, you might hear hints of Phillip Glass, who she cites as a major influence.

Serena Sanford