CD Review: Beth Thornley

Wash U Clean (Stiff Hips)

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Pretty fly for a white chick, Los Angeles-based singer-pianist Beth Thornley shows lasting power on this follow-up to 2006's My Glass Eye. Sounding like a funkier Suzanne Vega or Aimee Mann, Thornley has a distinctive voice with a lot of range. The title track is a snappy kiss-off that fluctuates between hard-hitting raps and soaring choruses. "Baby, redemption ain't free/You're gonna need more than you get from me," she sings. She lets her freak flag fly on the gritty "You're So Pony," a straight-up hip-hop number that shows off her rapping skills. "Still Can't Hide" benefits from a string section that buttresses Thornley's pensive vocals. Ballads "Never Your Girl" and "Everyone Falls" don't resonate as much because they're just too dreary and sappy. But those are the only real missteps on an album that firmly establishes Thornley as a female Ben Folds. — Niesel

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