January 26, 2006

Edith Frost "It's A Game"

I like Edith Frost. I’ve liked her music for a long time. Ever since hearing her debut EP and Calling over Time, I instantly became enraptured by this lovely, unassuming Texas girl. (Well, she’s been an expatriate for some time, but you never really leave Texas, do you?) Her later records have been interesting, but they’ve never quite captured the bleakness of her earlier work. 2004’s Demos internet-only release was quite wonderful, too, but it’s been four long years since her last proper release, Wonder Wonder.

Her music is getting happier-sounding, even though her lyrics don’t reflect any kind of life improvement. Love seems to be a vexing problem, and singing about heartbreak has always been Frost’s forte. But instead of making music that’s downbeat, for It’s a Game, she continues to explore the more upbeat elements found on her previous album. This means that her music is becoming more universal, while retaining the deeply personal elements that made her previous records quite enjoyable and thought-provoking. More universal themes might not make for a deeply moving, personal experience like Calling over Time, but that’s okay; better to move away from being mopey and sad and depressed than to make record after record that wallows in one’s misery.

But Edith Frost has always been a country girl, and that hasn’t changed. A pedal steel here, an acoustic guitar there, a twang in the voice coming through every so often—there’s a gentle, simple charm, and it’s hard not to enjoy songs like “If It Wasn’t For the Birds” and “Lucky Charm.” Breathy and coy, Frost and her backing band breeze through a baker’s dozen worth of songs that document break-ups, disappointments, and relationship difficulties, but they never delve into tear-in-your-beer pathos. As always, the music is simply, totally pretty, sounding like the soundtrack to a 1960s-era West Texas-based romance movie. Personally, I’m fond of “Lovin’ You Goodbye,” a happy-trails style farewell song that documents the end of a relationship and the end of the record.

Romance might suck, but at least Frost seems content with her life; instead of self-pity, the more universal aspect of her new songs seems to give her an expertise and wisdom that can only come from experience. It’s A Game is a lovely record from a lovely lady. It’s good to hear her music once again, and it’s also nice to listen to her music without worrying a little bit about her.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.edithfrost.com
Label Website: http://www.dragcity.com

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