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REBECCA MOORE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Admiral Charcoal's Song (Knitting Factory Works) 1995

Armed with a keening, dramatic voice that immediately calls to mind Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, New York singer/guitarist/pianist Rebecca Moore nonetheless brings refined experimental artistry to her darkly whimsical and impressionist debut. Moore upends the visions of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll here, backed in her family nostalgia by bassist Reuben Radding (a onetime bandmate of drummer Dave Grohl in the pre-Nirvana Dain Bramage), cellist Jane Scarpantoni, trumpeter Steven Bernstein, vocalist Larry Miller and, playing six-string bass on "If You Please Me," guest star Jeff Buckley. At her most intriguing and appealing, Moore grapples with ominously surreal wordplay: in "Twisty Lullag'bye," she sings "Beware the mighty forks of despair!/Dragging their tines along my spine/Beware the mighty spoons shaking their caved-in heads." An open-ended artist willing to abandon safe structuralism for freely meandering adventures, Moore conducts a rarefied tour through a bizarre imagination, painting herself as an eccentric, personal artist well worth examining.

[Ira Robbins]