Where it Goes (1995)

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Produced by Anton Fier. “You Won’t Fall” was the first of Lori’s songs to be licensed (for the film Stealing Beauty).

How can you mend a broken heart?” Who hasn’t asked that question? Opinions vary – booze, drugs, meaningless sex or just shut up and surf out the inevitable post-breakup depression, hoping the spiral ends up in some better place. On the basis of Where It Goes, Lori Carson’s second solo album (and her first since she joined the Golden Palominos), she has tried them all and still hasn’t found the answer. But her search makes for compelling listening.

This is an intimate late-night album of amatory post-mortems, with elegant ballads and art songs surveying the debris with a sharp, unforgiving eye. “I know the odds are against us/We know how to fuck it up/We do it so well,” she sings on “Petal.” Her breathy soprano, cool, throaty and seductive, seems to move back and forth between concrete and air, innocence and knowingness.

Carson’s erotic despair and sophisticated backing (mostly Golden Palomino veterans) call up images of the American Music Club fronted by Joni Mitchell. The arrangements, with their string and ambient guitar ornamentation, and Anton Fier’s atmospheric production cushion the songs in an opiate haze. It’s a lush, sympathetic sound, but it can wear over the course of an entire album. You wish that for at least one song, Carson and the band would break through and clear the air.

But if you are willing to give yourself over to her passionate melancholy, Lori Carson offers a modern take on the singer/songwriter confessional, cloaked in a shroud of mystery. (RS 708)

STEVE MIRKIN, Rolling Stone

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