Carina Round

The Disconnection (Interscope Records)

The female singer-songwriters of today can be lumped together into two convenient camps. There's Camp Norah Jones, in which every sensitive, hushed-tone lullaby is safe passage to chart-topping success. Sarah McLachlan and Alicia Keys are camp counselors, while Jewel reads from a book of poems. They aren't looking to rock the boat so much as they are trying to lull it to sleep. It's bland music from talented women. It's music for people who think they can tell the difference between Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton, even though they look and sound exactly alike.

Over on the other side of town is Camp PJ Harvey, where the more challenging female artists reside. Björk, Chan Marshall and Nico are the camp matriarchs. The girls from the Donnas wear hairnets and serve them food. Carina Round definitely spends her summers at Camp Harvey, even if there is a hint that the women from Camp Jones call to her from across the lake. While their vocal delivery is similar, Round's music is slightly more accessible than Harvey's. And she adds enough quirk to keep it from ever being used in a tampon commercial.

 
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