Coming amidst the Ben Folds Five
debut and Tori Amos'
Under the Pink, this album is part of the year's return to power piano, but it didn't gain the attention of its peers. And that's a shame -- led by the rousing propulsive piano of "Hard Lesson" and the slowly building cry of inertia in "Get Off the Ground," this is just as worthy an effort. Like Ben Folds
, Beth Sorrentino
has a sense of her hometown peers drifting away in tunes like "Flemen," and yet can also provide impressionistic lyrics without a clear subject. And like both Folds and Amos, Sorrentino is most effective when anchored by her strong rhythm section-her piano doesn't have quite the melodic variation needed to keep a solo piece like "Bound Together" afloat. Fortunately, most of this album is a solid trio effort, especially in its brilliant first half.