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POE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Hello (Modern/Atlantic) 1995
Haunted (fei/Atlantic) 2000

Armed with quirky, smart lyrics and a light, rising voice punched up from the Edie Brickell vending machine, New York-to-LA (by way of the world) singer/songwriter Poe runs through a garish wardrobe of styles on her promising but not exactly good debut, Hello, an album au courant enough to use a disconnected modem as a human metaphor. Aided by eight songwriting partners and three producers, she strides purposefully through atmospheric club pop ("Hello" and "Another World"), continental glitz ("Fingertips"), scraggly guitar funk-rock ("Choking the Cherry"), string bass chamber pop ("That Day"), mainstream gloss ("Angry Johnny"), piano balladry ("Fly Away") and acoustic guitar simplicity ("Beautiful Girl"). In the album's most striking song, Poe describes a run-in with a motorpsycho nightmare in "Trigger Happy Jack (Drive by a Go-Go)." Poe has enough personality to keep the pleasant and occasionally intriguing album her own, but not enough to make it a strong statement.

[Ira Robbins]